Start up the rumor engine, ladies and gentlemen. 1UP.com is reporting that Microsoft’s Project Natal may actually be shipping integrated into a new console next fall. From the sounds of it, though, the console won’t be new as in different but new as in improved slightly. That is, new games would apparently work on both the current Xbox 360 console and “Xbox Natal” as it’s being unofficially called.
“Yes, there will be a new Xbox console next fall.
However, the new console won’t just be an Xbox 360 with a camera, though — we’ve heard it will be considered a new platform and carry a new name (Xbox Natal?). It’s not clear what sort of upgrades we might see, but some have suggested it will be an slight upgrade of the current Xbox 360 technology. Current Xbox 360 games would be playable on it, but future games would be able to take advantage of the added muscle. Similar to what we see in the PC space, games played on the more advanced Xbox would look or perform better, but publishers will still be able to support owners of both systems.”
That seems like kind of a slippery slope for Microsoft but I suppose if you’re going to integrate something directly into a console, you might as well bump the console’s specs a bit while you’re at it to help potential customers justify such a purchase. Let’s not forget that Natal will be sold separately for those of us who don’t want to buy an all-new Xbox 360.