Xbox 720 could be tablet-based, says Gamespot

***Update*** Apologies to GameStop, as it was a mistake on our end.  The original prediction was actually made by Gamespot, not GameStop as the story originally quoted.  The names have since been fixed.***

Could the Xbox 720, or whatever we're calling it, be tablet-based?  Gamespot certainly thinks so.

In their newest predictions for 2012, and latest next-gen Xbox rumors, GameSpot has suggested that there are "strong signs" indicating that a "tablet component figures heavily into the new design".

"That saucy Windows 8 Metro interface (now also seen on the Xbox Dashboard) just begs to be touched," Gamespot said.

"Speculation as to the form it will take has been rife for the past few months, with some even suggesting that the core of the new platform will be akin to a tablet PC that wirelessly connects to a base station, which in turn plugs into your TV," Gamespot explained.  " If this is the case, a premium Xbox Next setup could feasibly include a base station, a tablet, a conventional controller of some kind, and the recently discussed high-def evolution of the Kinect."

Given Microsoft's heavy emphasis on the Kinect it's hard to imagine they'd replace control-free movements with a tablet.  They seem pretty focused on moving forward with the Xbox Kinect and body gesture movements – as evidenced by their latest requirement that all future content be navigatable with gestures or voice.

As always, anything regarding the next-gen Xbox is merely speculation and should be treated as such.  Microsoft never comments on rumors or speculation so as of right now a "tablet-based" Xbox 720 is just heresay.  In my opinion, switching to a tablet controller would be a step back for the company that has revolutionized voice and gesture recognition.

Rumors of Microsoft announcing a new console or some next-gen technology at CES 2012 (happening this week) have seemed to replaced with new rumors of an Xbox 720 unveil at E3 2012.