To Natal or Not to Natal in October for $150?

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Microsoft's Xbox 360 motion-control upgrade, Project Natal, will ship this October for a surprisingly steep $150. That's if you believe Edge, which claims a "trusted source" offered the tip that spawned the story that launched another speculative media pile-on.

The October timeframe isn't news, since we already received semi-official confirmation from a Microsoft rep in the Middle East a few weeks ago.

But other details are new, like that the motion-sensing camera will also be shoehorned with the Xbox 360 Arcade console for $300. That's $100 more than the cost of the Arcade currently, but $50 less than the camera could sell for alone.

I know, we've long thought it might sell for less than $100. That's partly because biz site MCV claimed late last year that Project Natal would launch in November 2010 with 14 games and sell for less than £50 (about $80 USD then).

$150 would be even pricier than Sony's rival PlayStation Move motion-control angle, expected to debut late this year with a game for $100. Then again, this is Microsoft we're talking about. You know, the company that charges ridiculous markup on its peripherals, e.g. $100 for a WLAN USB adapter, $130 for a 250GB hard drive, and $50 for the privilege of playing online games with other gamers.

Intriguingly, Edge's source claims Natal won't be called Natal, and that Microsoft plans to rebrand it at E3 next month.

So what do you think they'll call it? Microsoft Groove? Xbox Rocks? Or maybe something esoteric, Nintendo style, like Oasis. Or Serenity. Or in the 'rhymes with' column, something silly, like Microsoft 'See'.

Don't get too excited--it's just innuendo until confirmed, and we won't know one way or another until E3 in a few more weeks.

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