The biggest headline this morning is Microsoft Saudi Arabia marketing manager of entertainment and devices Syed Bilal Tariq reportedly announcing an October release date for the company's upcoming Project Natal device for Xbox 360, as discovered by website Gamertagradio.
I wasn't immediately convinced Tariq was in the know, however. He's made other claims on TV that we haven't heard before. Did you know Halo: Reach is apparently coming to the PC, too? So says Tariq.
But here's the kicker: he's not actually a Microsoft employee.
“Syed Bilal Tariq is not a [Microsoft] employee," said a company representative over e-mail. "He is a vendor employed through a third-party company on behalf of the Microsoft subsidiary in Saudi Arabia.”
Microsoft would not comment on the alleged October date.
Tariq has made multiple appearances on Saudi Arabia gaming and technology show Up To Date, hosted by English speaking Faisal Alsaif. In the Project Natal clip, Tariq wasn't an in-house guest, but apparently called into the show to share the otherwise unannounced news that Microsoft would be releasing Project Natal in October. The full episode with Tariq's latest guest spot is unavailable.
The YouTube removal, however, provides conspiracy theorists with evidence the Microsoft executive spoke out of turn and spilled the beans, but in Tariq's previous appearance on Up To Date, he made other claims about Microsoft's plans, such as releasing Halo: Reach on the PC down the line.
Tariq: In terms of gaming, we have some of the most anticipated, as well as some of the best titles, on the way. Alan Wake, that's being launched in May. Crackdown 2, that will be following towards the July/August timeframe. Then, we have one of the most awaited titles of 2010, Halo: Reach. Bungie, as we all know. Fable III is going to be release towards holidays 2010, so the December timeframe.
Alsaif: Those are releases on Xbox, some of them are as well to be on the PC?
Tariq: These are all exclusive Xbox 360 titles.
Alsaif: Halo's not gonna be on PC?
Tariq: Uh, later on. Yes.
It's possible Project Natal will be released in October, getting Xbox 360's holiday ball rolling before Halo: Reach (which also doesn't have an announced release date yet), but the executive's claims about the Halo: Reach port, plus Microsoft's comment, make it likely Tariq was saying more than he knows.