No matter what people thought they heard Steve Ballmer say in Chicago, Microsoft is not planning to introduce a successor to the Xbox 360 next year.
In a blog posting on Thursday night, Microsoft said that the Xbox 360 is "not even halfway" through its current lifecycle and will be here long into the next decade. The company is planning to introduce a new gesture-recognizing controller, code-named, and that is expected next year, although Microsoft says it isn't talking timing with regards to Natal.
"As the Xbox team stated at E3 two weeks ago, we 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," Microsoft's Major Nelson said in a blog post. "Project Natal will be an important part of this platform, but we have not confirmed a launch date at this time."
Of course, that is what has opened the door to. In his posting, CNET colleague David Carnoy notes that Microsoft says it isn't planning an all-new Xbox 360 either.
That doesn't completely shut the door on new hardware for 2010. Although Microsoft has said it plans to offer Natal as an add-on to the Xbox 360, it seems reasonable that the company might well come out with some new bundle or set-up to accompany Natal's arrival as it looks to convert all of those Wii owners.