Sources and financial figureheads have been trying to peg the price of Microsoft's Project Natal since its reveal without a consensus. I've heard $50 more than once, $80 a couple of times, and beyond $200 before the chip removal. And while I dislike this kind this kind of financial guesswork, the latest rumor on Natal's price--this close to E3 mind you--seems a bit more solid: Natal may cost $150 at launch.
The source says while a standalone Natal unit will be $150, a bundled unit will only cost $299. The source believes Microsoft will put Natal alongside a harddrive-less Xbox Live Arcade console at this reduced priced. And allegedly, we should expect Natal this October 26th, although the date may shift. Previous reports, mind you, have stated Natal would hit in November and December.
"Microsoft expects to sell millions and millions of Natal units in its first year on the market so you can expect the software launch line-up to target non-traditional gamers,” the source told Edge, almost breaking into corporate talk. “A major marketing campaign will also play a key role in attracting and educating the expanded audience about Xbox 360’s controller-free revolution.”
You know, predicting the price of upcoming hardware is like a bad game. Bad games don't have redeeming qualities; the characters are stiff, the mechanics are all sorts of busted, and design often slips manically from whatever momentary standards the game desperately tries to grasp onto. See: Damnation. See also: Things on Wheels. There's no point in taking stabs at hardware prices before the hardware is even finalized, even if you're Michael Pachter. At the end of the day, as consumers, we don't really care until the device is on store shelves.
Besides, I get the sense that no one, other than a very select few corporate types who would never speak to the media, knew what was going on with Natal's price. Prediction, then, was just guesswork based on previous price points on loosely related hardware. That's pretty shaky.
Following up, Edge received the standard, and understandable, Microsoft non-response to "rumors and speculation." The price is supposedly going to be revealed at E3, which makes more sense than the device's supposed price tag. Microsoft has invited press to a world premiere event on June 15th. A media briefing will accompany this on June 14th. The media briefing will be considerably more boring considering Cirque de Soleil won't be performing live.
But this price talk doesn't really matter, does it? Those who want the Minority Report dashboard experience and want to jump around smacking pretend balls with their heads will buy it regardless. Those who know they don't want it, probably won't want it. See: the Wii Motion Plus. See Also: the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak.