Source: UK gaming magazine Edge.
What we heard: Microsoft isn't likely to make any official statements regarding the launch of Project Natal for the Xbox 360 until June 13, when it will hold a "world premiere" for the device as part of the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo. However, thanks to seemingly unauthorized statements made by Microsoft's Saudi Arabian marketing manager, the current plan appears to be to launch the camera-based motion-sensing add-on in October.
Today, that launch window seems to have gained a bit more support, along with a potential price point. Citing an industry source, Edge reported today that Microsoft intends to roll out Natal worldwide on October 26, a Tuesday. Edge's source noted that the date has yet to be 100 percent nailed down and may be advanced or retreated by a handful of weeks.
Interestingly, the source also stated that Microsoft intends to sell the peripheral as a stand-alone unit for $150 in the US. However, that figure clashes with a previous rumor, which indicated that Microsoft planned to position Natal as an "impulse buy" with a £50 ($72) price point.
As for bundles, Edge's source said Microsoft also intends to pack in Natal with the hard drive-less Xbox 360 Arcade SKU for $299, a $100 premium over the console's current price point. However, this tidbit of information is also questionable, considering analysts are expecting a new, slimmer 250GB Xbox 360 to ship out later this year at the $299 price point--with Natal included.
The official story: Microsoft had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. However, it is unlikely the publisher will deviate from its tried-and-true mantra, "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."
Bogus or not bogus?: Leaning not bogus. Considering that Natal will include such complex technology as voice recognition, facial recognition, and three-dimensional real-time motion sensing, it seems more likely that the $150 price point is more accurate than the essentially giveaway £50 speculative MSRP. However, don't expect it to be priced much higher, as Microsoft must keep the price down if it hopes to attract mass-market consumers, a primary target of the new device.