Ballmer: "No new Xbox in the next year"

Microsoft CEO says its next-gen console is at least 12 months away; corporate spokespeople decline further comment.


Yesterday, Microsoft held its annual financial analyst meeting at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Besides addressing bigger issues such as the software behemoth's search-engine war with Google, CEO Steve Ballmer also talked about Microsoft's future plans for its games division.

Unfortunately for gamers, it's looking more like far-future plans. Although he said the company is "hard at work" on its next-generation console, Ballmer flat-out said, "There's no new Xbox in the next year."

Normally, such a blunt statement's meaning would be unequivocal, but in the world of corporate finance, his words could be interpreted many ways. Did Ballmer mean the next Xbox wouldn't arrive in the next 12 months or calendar year 2005? Or did he mean the console wasn't coming during Microsoft's next fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2005?

Though the latter scenario could mean that the next-gen Xbox could still be released during the fourth quarter of 2005--as many analysts have suspected---Ballmer did not elaborate. "That's all we'll say," he told the conference. He wasn't kidding, either. Microsoft spokesmen contacted by GameSpot said, "We’re going to decline commenting on Steve Ballmer’s remarks."

Ballmer also did not say if the Xbox Next would be on display at next year's E3, where rivals Sony and Nintendo will be showing off their next-generation consoles. However, he did reconfirm that Halo 2 was "on the way" and that the Xbox platform now has "over 400 games."

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