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Microsoft's confusion over 'new' Xbox 360 for 2010

CEO suggests Project Natal-enabled console to launch next year, but Hyrb plays down reports

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has suggested that a new Xbox 360 will be released in 2010, implying it will incorporate the Project Natal technology as standard.

However, gaming execs at Microsoft were quick to react to Ballmer's statements, indicating that not all senior staff are on message at the company.

Speaking at the Executive's Club of Chicago, Ballmer said the console will have a "natural interface" and built-in camera with the ability to recognise movement and voice, according to TG Daily.

While clearly talking about the Project Natal technology, it's the first time despite industry speculation that Microsoft has indicated the motion tech will be built-in to Xbox 360 hardware.

Xbox Live's Larry Hyrb was quick to play down the suggestions by Ballmer, writing on his blog: "As the Xbox team stated at E3 two weeks ago, we are not even halfway through the current console generation lifecycle and believe Xbox 360 will be the entertainment center in the home for long into the next decade.

"Project Natal will be an important part of this platform, but we have not confirmed a launch date at this time."

Earlier this week Aaron Greenberg also dismissed rumours of a hardware redesign in 2010, stating that "Natal will run on Xbox 360 so no new console investment will be necessary."

Shane Kim told GamesIndustry.biz that Project Natal would not launch this year, and no release window has yet been set, whether as a stand alone peripheral, bundled with the 360 or built in to new hardware.

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