Images of next-generation Xbox development kits have appeared online this last weekend, and - if Eurogamer's Digital Foundry is to be believed - they are real.

Posted on the ASSEMbler forums, these photos show what would appear to be an unassuming PC tower, a launch-screen prominently featuring the name 'Durango' (thought to be an alias of the system) and a binary cascade effect which appears repeatedly throughout. The user responsible for the leak - identifying themselves as 'DaE' - was attempting to sell the machine for $10,000.

Although the unconvincing nature of this disclosure may leave considerable room for doubt, further investigation by Digital Foundry led to confirmation from "reliable sources" working on next-generation projects that the dubious images are, in fact, legitimate.

Purportedly sent out to developers in February earlier this year, DaE reports that the dev-kit contains an NVIDIA graphics card, Intel CPUs and 8GB of RAM - even though unspecified sources have apparently suggested that last figure is actually closer to 12GB. Needless to say, these specifications should be taken with a hearty pinch of salt due to a lack of obvious corroboration.

Furthermore, none of the leaked pictures show this tech at work on actual projects; the launch-screen merely features applications listed as "D3D11Game1" and "NuiView". Whilst the former's meaning remains unclear, Digital Foundry revealed that the latter is "a simple tool for rendering camera views and data from an attached Kinect peripheral".

It should be re-iterated that these images show development kits rather than the final, retail-ready product; creating a rough equivalent of the system's capabilities with current PC components before the console is finalised isn't an uncommon practice within the industry. In short, don't expect this to be what will hit stores when the machine is eventually rolled out.

In other news, the user responsible for the post has since been banned from the ASSEMbler forums and the leak has been subsequently removed. To check out these images, head over to the original story at Eurogamer's Digital Foundry.