Is the 360+ a new Xbox console shipping with Project Natal?

July 28, 2009
Project Natal is an exciting development in the world of gaming because it takes the foundation that the Nintendo Wii, and to a lesser extent the Playstation Eye, has created and builds on it. Could it be that Natal will be launched as part of a new Xbox console? And could that console be called the 360+? Microsoft is clearly setting up Project Natal to become a big part of its gaming future. The controller-less motion-sensing camera device was unveiled at E3 2009 and pretty much stole the show. But Natal has yet to secure a release date, and we also don’t know if it will be released as a peripheral or built in to a new model of the console.
Ryan Geiss is a man that should know the answers to these question, seeing as he is a graphics programmer currently working on Project Natal for the Xbox 360. Could it be that he inadvertently let slip some key information in a post on his blog? Geiss’s update from June 1 originally said:
I can finally disclose that I’m one of the core developers of the human-tracking algorithms for Project Natal (click for more info), bringing full-body motion control to the Xbox 360+.
Geiss has now removed the “+” from the post but he hadn’t done so for almost two months until eagle-eyed readers had spotted it and the story spread around the Web. Clicking for more info leads to lots more information about Natal but nothing about any new Xbox console being prepared for shipping at the same time. So was it just a careless keystroke or is there more to it than that?
It would seem unlikely that Geiss had pressed “+” by mistake at the end of that sentence purely because that’s not a symbol that is usually pressed in error due to its positioning. But Geiss is an intelligent man, so I also doubt that he’d have given something as big as the existence of a new Xbox console away, or its name for that matter.
Interestingly, the existence of a new Xbox 360 to ship with Project Natal built in to it would gel well with comments made in June by Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft. His suggestion of a new iteration of the Xbox with technology that is “really, really, close” to real life and a “natural interface” were quickly shot down but the evidence seems to be building.


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