MS boss Ballmer confirms "new Xbox"

With built-in camera for 2010.

Microsoft big boss Steve Ballmer has told a bunch of rich people that a new Xbox 360 will hit store shelves in 2010.

Speaking at the Executive's Club of Chicago, Ballmer said the console will have a "natural interface" and a built-in camera with the ability to recognise movement and voice, according to TG Daily. That will be Project Natal, then - but built-in? That's the first we've heard.

Xbox Live bigwig Larry Hryb - more commonly known as Major Nelson - was quick to react.

"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," he wrote on his blog.

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

Rumours of new Xbox 360 hardware related to Project Natal seeped onto the internet last weekend. Microsoft has left them unchecked all week, offering only timid and ambiguous comment on the matter.

Eurogamer's Digital Foundry blog was more committal, providing a host of reasons why new Xbox 360 hardware is unlikely - although concluding that an existing 360 with a new form factor is possible.

A "yes" or a "no" would be nice.

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