When Microsoft’s Shane Kim told the world that the launch of Project Natal would be “on par with a new generation console launch”, what he actually meant to say was that it basically will be the launch of a new console.
1UP reported earlier this week that Microsoft are going to launch a new console in 2010, but the whole story was quickly shot down by Microsoft. Problem is, that they were lying, well mostly.
So does this mean that the “Xbox 720” is coming in 2010? It seems that Microsoft has somewhat of a different plan.
More after the jump.
Today, at the Executive’s Club of Chicago, Microsofts CEO Steve Ballmer told attendees that there will be a new Xbox 360 arriving in 2010, and that it will come equipped with a “built-in camera” (Project Natal) and what he referred to as a “natural interface”.
This isn’t exactly the Xbox 720, but at the same time, we can definitely say that this isn’t just another Xbox 360 SKU with a different HDD configuration or internal chipset. This is basically going to be an Xbox 360 with built in Natal features that will target the casual market a lot more.
We all already know that Project Natal will work on any Xbox 360, so there is no reason to panic, it just seems that this new console will have everything in one and have it all in one box, and with the targets being set more on the casual market, we may actually be seeing an actual Xbox Wii60 in the near future.
Earlier I said that Microsoft were “mostly” lying, the reason for this is that 1UP reported that it will be possible that the new console will have increased performance due to hardware upgrades. Microsoft have said nothing about this yet, so it looks like they weren’t wrong when they responded saying that they do not have any sort of upgraded Xbox on the way.
Microsoft are looking at Project Natal as a sort of “new generation” for the Xbox 360, which also means that it may very well be a long, long time until the “Xbox 720” ever sees the light of day.
I actually like the direction that Microsoft has chosen to go, even if it means that we won’t be seeing a proper next-gen console any time soon. As far as this idea goes from a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. With the Natal and this new Natal-enabled version they will be able to reach out to casual markets, whilst still keeping the hardcore gamers happy as usual.
If anything, Microsoft may have found the perfect balance and may have created what many hardcore gamers really wanted from the Wii, a powerful hardcore gaming machine, that your grandmother could play if she wanted to.
Last Updated: June 19, 2009