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Microsoft pooh-poohs CEO's 'new Xbox 360 next year' claim

And his Project Natal talk

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Confusion reigns supreme in the gaming industry today following Microsoft’s retraction of comments by big cheese Steve Ballmer that a new Xbox 360 console featuring Project Natal will emerge next year.

While speaking at a conference in Chicago earlier this week, Ballmer announced that next year’s revamped Xbox 360 will be fitted with technology that he claimed was “really, really close" to being ready for commercialisation, according to a report by TG Daily.

Ballmer also reportedly added that the 2010 model will have a “natural interface” fed by an integrated camera and the ability to recognise movement and voice.

His description, not unreasonably, has led many in the industry to believe that the model will either ship alongside Project Natal or feature the controller-less technology inside.

However, Microsoft has since backtracked on what its own chief said – both about a new Xbox 360 for 2010 and Project Natal’s launch date.

“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,” the company said.

True, we'd say, but that doesn't preclude another revamp of the 360, of which there have been a number already.

Microsoft added: “Project Natal will be an important part of this platform, but we have not confirmed a launch date at this time.” ®

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