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Farrell: Natal will arrive late next year

By Kath Brice

Wed 29 Jul 2009 7:44am GMT / 3:44am EDT / 12:44am PDT

THQ boss reveals Natal release date during Q1 earnings call; also predicts hardware price cuts

Microsoft's Natal will launch late next year, THQ CEO Brian Farrell has revealed in his company's Q1 earnings call.

In response to a question about hardware price cuts and market changes in the upcoming cycle, Farrell replied: "With respect to the cycle itself, if you look at what's happening in the industry, the fact that we have for example, Natal from Microsoft, a platform addition coming late next year."

Microsoft hasn't officially dated Natal's launch, although last month the company's boss, Steve Ballmer, stated a new Xbox 360 would be on shop shelves next year, which Microsoft subsequently clarified was meant to mean Project Natal.

In response to the same investor question, Farrell also speculated the other platform holders could join Microsoft in releasing new peripherals and devices "to keep the current hardware fresh for at least the next three to five years".

He revealed too the company had been expecting hardware price cuts this fall, saying they were factored into its future earnings forecasts.

"We did anticipate price cuts coming this fall. Obviously we'll 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," said Farrell.

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