Last week Microsoft's Shane Kim pointed out that the launch of Project Natal
would be as big as that of a console. Today 1UP has concluded that this means the full-body motion controller will actually be part of a new Xbox, which will hit the shops next autumn.
The report emerges from discussions on the site's podcast and concludes, "Microsoft will not only release Natal as an add-on for the Xbox 360, it will come standard with the next Xbox console.
"Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall."
To be so assured either means that either there is some serious inside information being fed via the kind of leak so hated by SCEA head, Jack Tretton
, or rumour and speculation following E3 has reached fever pitch in one part of the world.
Adding flesh to the bone of the new Xbox Natal story, we're informed, "...we wouldn't be talking about the sort of hardware leap we've seen with Xbox (or most other) platforms in the past, and we're not talking about Microsoft ending one console cycle and starting another.
"The new Xbox console is said to be aimed directly at a mainstream audience -- and will launch before Nintendo is able to release its Wii HD. "
That sentence from the blog post suggests that someone in the know has indeed 'said' that the target audience will not be the hardcore gamer. However, given the range of what Shane Kim would call 'content experiences' on the system, the current Xbox already targeted at the mainstream. We've got to conclude, therefore, that 1UP's unstated source must mean 'aimed at the Wii'. We, could, of course, also conclude that this is conjecture piled on speculation piled on enthusiasm. Read the post yourself, here