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Kinect bundles and $199 360 confirmed

Internal marketing document promises new SKUs from Microsoft

Microsoft has appeared to confirm hardware bundles with the Xbox 360 and Kinect, as well as a $199 version of the redesigned Xbox 360 console - although details remain sparse.

An internal marketing Q&A obtained by website Kotaku indicates that the newly unveiled Kinect camera system will be available as "part of a bundle with the newly designed Xbox 360 console".

Although console bundles for Kinect have been widely assumed throughout the industry, Microsoft's refusal to announce a price for the standalone Kinect system meant that no package deals have been officially confirmed.

The Kinect price is due to be revealed at the gamescom event in August, but multiple retailers are already listing it for $150.

The website of U.S. retailer GameStop has previously listed a $299 Arcade bundle with Kinect, as well as a $399 Elite version - although both these listings now appear to have been removed.

The Q&A also confirms that Microsoft will release "a $199 Xbox 360 this fall". Although this would seem likely to refer to a cheaper version of the new, slimline Xbox 360, the exactly wording of the document is ambiguous.

The only version of the redesigned Xbox 360 confirmed by Microsoft at E3 is currently listed for $299 and includes a 250GB hard drive and a built-in Wi-Fi adapter. If this is assumed to be equivalent to the current "Elite" Xbox 360 SKU, then a $199 version is likely to be equivalent to the Arcade bundle.

The current Arcade SKU does not include a hard drive and is instead bundled with a 256MB memory card. However, the redesigned Xbox 360 does not feature memory card slots and instead has two additional USB ports.

While specifications for any cheaper SKU remain purely at the speculation stage, possible candidates for feature-removal in a cheaper SKU might thus include the 250GB hard drive, or the newly-integrated wireless networking - which required a costly add-on on the older models of 360.

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David Jenkins

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