Analyst predicts $299 slim Xbox 360/Project Natal bundle this year

GameIndustry.biz reports that Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is predicting a new slim-lined Xbox 360 hardware revision before year’s end. Regarding a potential price drop to combat loss of market share to the PlayStation 3, Pachter told investors, “It is far more likely that we will see a slim version of the Xbox 360 with a 250 GB hard drive and with Project Natal bundled into the box while maintaining the $299 price point, especially if Sony does not lower the price of the PS3 by the time Natal and Sony’s Move controllers launch in the fall."

This is not the first word of a potential Xbox 360 hardware revision in recent months. Weeks ago, Joystiq acquired images from a Chinese tech forum that were purported to be a slimmed-down version of the Xbox 360 motherboard. Add a quote from Steve Ballmer referring to “more form factors in the future,” and a recent Microsoft job listing for an Xbox 360 Motherboard Design Engineer, and Pachter’s claim seems more than viable.

New form factors are a staple of the game industry. Earlier this year, Sony introduced a slimmer version of the PlayStation 3, and along with a new marketing campaign, managed to greatly improve public interest in their console. The Xbox 360 has been on the market for almost 5 years, and it would make sense for Microsoft to take a similar approach to coincide with the launch of Project Natal this winter.

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