We've already heard plenty about Microsoft's plans for the Natal project and the motion control it will bring to the Xbox, but could it actually turn out to be a new console in its own right?

That's the claim being made by the hardcore gamers at 1up.com, who say Natal will, in reality, be the new brand for the Xbox when it launches next year.

Better hardware

Writer Sam Kennedy cites a previous Microsoft comment about Natal's debut being "as big as the launch of a console" and goes on to state: "Not surprising. That's because Natal is going to be a new console."

Without naming sources, he speculates that the 'Xbox Natal' will include the new motion control as well as some minor hardware improvements to give developers more scope to create better games. He also says it will still play current Xbox 360 games.

Still just talk

Obviously, none of this is proven, but with all three major gaming players set to offer high-definition consoles with motion control, branding and the ability to stand out could become at least as important as the actual product.

As for timing, 1up.com suggests the final incarnation of Natal could make its debut at the Game Developer's Conference in March 2010.