Microsoft has re-affirmed its continued support for the original Xbox games console, dispelling rumours that hardware manufacturing for the machine has now been officially stopped.The rumour, which initially appeared on US website Kotaku.com, was sparked by an email from an undisclosed source in the retail sector, suggesting that hardware production of the original machine had stopped and prompting immediate questions regarding the level of support for existing customers, for both first and third-party games.Microsoft had stated during last year's E3 expo in May that support for the original console would continue in terms of hardware sales and software launches, and it would seem reasonable to accept that the focus of its attention has shifted somewhat recently, in light of the continuing stock issues for its next-generation Xbox 360, which launched in the US in November. However, that change in product launch schedules and hardware support doesn't necessarily translate to Microsoft's outright neglect of its original machine.Gamesindustry.biz contacted Microsoft to clarify its position on the Xbox, and a company spokesperson told us: "We remain very supportive of the Xbox platform and there have been no announcements about plans to cease or alter production.""While we do not have other titles to announce at this time, we are committed to providing existing Xbox customers with exciting gaming experiences in 2006. There are 200 Xbox titles expected to ship this year. It is the responsibility of the first party to create genre-defining games for its platform and we are taking that stance with both Xbox and Xbox 360. We feel we have an amazing ecosystem with third parties providing content to Xbox at this time. We have done a great job on the Xbox side with such franchises as Halo, Project Gotham Racing, Fable, and Forza, not to mention our pioneering work we’ve done for Xbox Live," the spokesperson concluded.