It’s been a merry old dance over the past week or so with Microsoft staunchly denying rumors that a new Xbox console would launch next year. Rumors kept popping up about Project Natal, new Xbox hardware that needs new TV technology, but each time Microsoft denied that there were plans to launch a new system.
That just changed again. Sort of. Yesterday during a speech made at The Executive’s Club of Chicago, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage and made an announcement that a new Xbox 360 console will indeed be launched in 2010.
VG247 has details that came in after Ballmer’s bomb dropped. Both Microsoft’s Aaron Greenburg and Major Nelson weighed in trying to squash notions that this new machine might be anything other than a regular Xbox 360 with a Natal camera (possibly built-in.)
“I can tell you that we are not launching a new console in 2010.”
He added: “We’re not going to have to require customers to reinvest in an entirely new platform,” he says. “We’re able to add [Project Natal] on top of what’s already there.”
And: “This will work with your Xbox 360 if you’re buying one today, a year from now, [or] if you bought one at launch.”
So it would seem as though there’s some truth to both sides of the story. A new Xbox 360 SKU will most likely be released bundled with a standalone Natal camera. That’s gonna be your new Xbox console. Stay tuned for more developments.