New Xbox To Launch In 2010?S

Last week, Microsoft's Shane Kim told us that the launch of the 360's motion-controlled camera system - Project Natal - would be as big as a console launch. Maybe he was onto something with that.

Because 1UP are reporting a rumour that while Natal will be released next year for existing 360 consoles, it will also be released next year as a standard inclusion with a new Xbox console, due out in the Fall.

This console won't be as "new" as we're accustomed to with console generations; rather, 1UP say it'll be a slight improvement over the existing Xbox 360 technology, with games able to run with slightly faster framerates, or with slightly better graphics than those on the "older" 360 consoles.

Sounds crazy, but as 1UP point out, it's not that different to what Nintendo did the Wii; repackage existing hardware and re-release it in a new casing with a new control method.

I don't know how I like (or put much stock in) the idea of two 360 consoles, especially two with varying hardware configurations; what's to stop developers from optimising for the more powerful unit and leaving owners of the older 360 with a sloppy, sub-standard product?

Hopefully that's not a problem, and if true, the "new" console is just a rebranded, repackaged 360. Maybe in a smaller box, with a snappier name. First impressions, fresh start and all that.

We've contacted Microsoft for comment, and will let you know if/when they get back to us.

UPDATE - Microsoft got back to us. Guess what they said? "Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation."

Rumor: Xbox Natal is Actually Microsoft's Next Console [1UP]