When Microsofts Project Natal was announced at E3 earlier this year, there was a lot of excitement. Many companies have tried to take motion capture to gaming, and whilst theyve been enjoyable to an extent, theyve never been as interactive as they could be. Thats why this was such a big deal; it really showed off some impressive performance, and when people actually got to try it, it worked as well as expected. However, when asked for an approximate release date, there was not much to be said... until, of course, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared that a new Xbox would be released late 2010. This caused even more excitement, but then Microsofts PR team came out and corrected Ballmer, noting that it would not be a new Xbox, but in fact Project Natal. Very recently weve heard some more confirmation on this, from the CEO of THQ, Brian Farrell.
In the Q1 financial performance conference call for the company, Farrell was asked about different price cuts for hardware, and the like, and he responded with, "With respect to the cycle itself, if you look at whats happening in the industry, the fact that we have for example, Natal from Microsoft, a platform addition coming late next year." Interestingly, though, he responded again to the same question with speculation that other console manufacturers could follow suit, creating new peripherals. This would be useful "to keep the current hardware fresh for at least the next three to five years".
Lastly, he believes that hardware price cuts are coming this fall, saying, "We did anticipate price cuts coming this fall. Obviously well let the hardware guys announce both the magnitude and the timing, but again, just look at the hardware numbers and it would seem that a price cut would be in order by at least two of the three manufacturers." Interesting stuff.