Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer indicated that the company would be releasing a new Xbox 360 in 2010, one featuring a built-in camera. That seemingly confirmed a new hardware configuration with the company's Project Natal built-in. Microsoft's official word?
While Ballmer's casual mention of a new Xbox 360 hardware iteration at the Executive's Club of Chicago seemingly confirms a rumour originating from 1UP, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg told us "There will be no new console."
"We're not going to be launching a new console any time soon," Greenberg said during a phone call today. "I really believe he was speaking about Project Natal."
"We want to make sure people know that we're excited about Project Natal," Greenberg noted, "But we're barely halfway through this generation. We're happy with the Xbox 360, so there are no changes from that standpoint. For the time being, we're really just showing a whole new category of gaming."
Asked if Microsoft was at least considering putting the hands-free motion controller technology into a new Xbox 360 configuration, Greenberg said "Yes, we have looked at that, but we haven't announced any details for something like that."
Nor has the company announced a ship date or final name for the motion-sensing camera tech it debuted at E3 2009, Greenberg added.
"We are saying that the Natal will run on the Xbox 360, so there's no new hardware to purchase," Greenberg said, reiterating the company's position on its current generation platform. "What we're doing that's unique is, instead of asking you to invest in a new generation of hardware, a generation that's already well established, extending the experience even longer by adding this whole new category of experiences with Project Natal."
"We're changing the rules a little bit just like we did with the New Xbox Experience," he said.
We've requested a transcript of Mr. Ballmer's speech from Executive's Club of Chicago and will follow up when and if it becomes available.