Last week Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, while speaking at the Executive's Club in Chicago, seemed to confirm some wild rumors of a new Xbox 360 in 2010. It was unfortunate timing, since the rumor mill was already churning like mad based on wafer-thin facts from 1Up.com.
Microsoft's PR department immediately went into spin control, reiterating the E3 statement that Xbox 360 is not even half-way through its life cycle, but now Ballmer himself has clarified the situation, telling IGN UK "I confused the issue with my poorly chosen words. There is no news in my comments. Things are as reported after E3. Sorry,"
So what's the kernel of truth in all this? No one knows for sure, but the Xbox 360 is constantly being refined with new motherboards (as components get cheaper it makes sense to change the design of the boards for the purposes of cost savings and reliability) and Microsoft has said that the buzz around the launch of Project Natal will be as big as a console launch. It only makes sense that there will be a new SKU with an Xbox 360 and Natal bundled into one box. Combine this with a new motherboard and if you squint just right you could look at it as a 'new console.'