Would you be willing to pay $150 for a video camera peripheral that will only work with a $200 gaming console?
Microsoft hopes so--at least according to Edge Online's "trusted source," who says that $150 is in fact the price tag for a Project Natal unit, and that Microsoft is planning to offer it both as a standalone item and as part of an Arcade system bundle.
Project Natal, which is widely expected to be renamed at its near-final press debut at next month's E3 conference in Los Angeles, is a video capture device for the Xbox 360 that Microsoft promises will bring next-generation voice- and gesture-based gaming without the need for game controllers or headset microphones. It was first introduced at last year's E3, though so far Microsoft has been coy about a price or release date, saying only that it would be out in time for this year's holiday season.
Edge's source says a more precise date is October 26, which could "shift by a few weeks either way." This jibes with the "somewhere in October" date Syed Bilal Tariq, a marketing manager at Microsoft's Saudi Arabia division, spilled to Saudi TV station KSA 2 earlier this month.
One thing to keep in mind is that if Natal does come on the scene at $150, it would be $50 cheaper than the $200 price point some Swedish retailer pre-release listings had pegged it at a few weeks back. Though even there, it's nearly double the rumored $80 price suggested by a November MCV report that was sourced on information from developers who reportedly had been wooed by Microsoft to build the technology into their games.
Microsoft is holding a press conference specifically for Natal at this year's E3, which happens the day before the company's main press event. We'll be there on the scene to bring you the news as it happens.