Steve Ballmer Clarifies Rumors of New Xbox

Just in case anyone was still clinging to the hope that Microsoft really did have plans to release a new Xbox, Steve Ballmer has put rumors to rest for good by apologizing for his poor choice of words last week.

ZoomFollowing speculation that the company was going to release a new Xbox 360 based around Project Natal, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at The Executive’s Club of Chicago and said some things that at least hinted toward new Xbox hardware in 2010.

TGDaily’s Wolfgang Gruener was at the event in Chicago and reported that, during a speech about the recession, Ballmer “openly” confirmed rumors that the company would launch a new console in 2010. Steve described the device as having a “natural interface,” and went on to say that it will be equipped with technology that is “really, really, close” to actuality as well as have a built incamera with the ability to recognize movement and voice.

Microsoft denied new hardware several times after Gruener’s story was picked up by other major blogs. Xbox’s Major Nelson took to his blog and clarified that as the Xbox team stated at E3, “we’re 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.” Nelson went on to say that Project Natal will be an important part of the Xbox platform, but added that the company has yet to confirm a release date for the peripheral. Director of Product Management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Aaron Greenberg said, “There will be no new console,” adding that the company would not be launching a Xbox “anytime soon,” and finishing with, “I really believe he was speaking about Project Natal.”

Ballmer yesterday told IGN that he was sorry, reiterating the point that the company is not planning an Xbox launch for next year. “I confused the issue with my poorly chosen words,” he told IGN. “There is no news in my comments. Things are as reported after E3,” he finished. So there you have it, straight from the instigator’s mouth.