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Alleged Xbox ‘Durango’ development system sells for $20K on eBay

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Is this a Durango dev kit?

Despite plenty of leaks, Microsoft has yet to officially confirm that it's working on the next Xbox. But the first one may already have been sold.

An eBay auction over the weekend found a buyer for a purported Xbox 'Durango' Development Kit — a system game developers use to create games for the upcoming console. The buyer, who remained anonymous, shelled out $20,100 for the kit, which apparently looks like a black computer tower.

The sale comes with a load of questions, the foremost being: Is this thing real?

There's no way to know for sure. But the seller, who goes by the name SuperDaE, does have a track history of leaking information about the next Xbox, including the first images of Kinect 2.

SuperDaE boasted about the sale on his Twitter account, saying "I sold one of two I own. I still have the one that featured in news, the other one wasn't really necessary to keep as a leg rest." He also says his lawyers told him to "Go for it!"

Assuming that's true, he might want to reconsider his legal counsel. Development kits are never given or sold to game developers. They're leased -- and remain the property of the console manufacturer. They're also in extremely short supply. And while there have been plenty of leaks, the NDA Microsoft has put into place surrounding Durango (the codename for the next system) has been called 'draconian' by people familiar with it.

If this sale goes through, eBay will have contact information for both the buyer and seller and could turn that over to Microsoft if requested to do so. It's likely, in fact, given Microsoft could make a case that the auction was for the sale of stolen property.

So why would anyone want a development kit? After all, there are no games on the market for the next Xbox, obviously.

Given the price tag of the sale, the buyer is almost certainly not just a curiosity seeker. Corporate espionage is a very real thing, so it's plausible a competing company would want to get its hands on the system to learn more about what it will be facing, though doing so this way would be incredibly risky. Hackers could also be interested, as it would give them a head start at cracking the new system, which would be a true nightmare for Microsoft.

SuperDaE is brushing off the legal ramifications, though. He says he plans to use the $20K to help buy a new car and says he has already spoken with eBay to verify his account.

On the other hand, it could be nothing more than an elaborate prank meant to capture more media attention (in which case, mission accomplished). That's not necessarily bad news for the buyer, though, as eBay does have a system in place protecting buyers from false auctions.

More than anything, the presence of a functional development kit lends even more weight to rumors that Microsoft will be releasing a new system in 2013.

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