EA and analysts on Xbox hardware

Sony recently announced the PlayStation 3 Slim and is about to launch the new console to the world in just a couple of days. With it comes a new and reduced price tag that puts the PS3 Slim at $299 on retail shelves, which is a $100 drop from its previous one. Some days later, Microsoft sunk the price of the Xbox 360 Elite, also with a $100 drop to $299 which, according to Xbox 360 director of product management Aaron Greenberg, is purely “coincidental” and has nothing to do with the PS3 Slim price tag. “This has been in the works for months and months” Greenberg told Kotaku.

Greenberg continued with shooting down rumors of an Xbox 360 Slim coming out. Despite this, although with a split view on the matter, analysts think that a slim or smaller version of the Xbox 360 is likely to be produced at some point in the future. Timing seems to be everything, but a number of analysts speculate that something might happen in 2010 with the Xbox 360. These conclusions come as no surprise since we all know that Microsoft is launching Project Natal some time next year, and many industry savvies believe that the day Natal is launched is the day we’ll see a new, redesigned Xbox 360, probably bundled together.

This coincides with the thoughts of Rich Hilleman, Chief Creative Officer at EA. As reported by IndustryGamers, during his speech at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford, Hilleman said that “we’ll see a PlayStation 3.5 before we see a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox 560 before we see an Xbox 720,” adding, “the biggest shift is how fast packaged goods games are changing and going away.” Although he’s not exactly saying what analysts in the industry are, they’re all talking about how much more likely we are to see marginal upgrades to consoles, such as bigger harddrives, motion censor controllers and aesthetical redesigns, etc. than seeing any of the major players taking a plunge right into the next generation of gaming.

Whatever way we decide to look at things, hardware is inevitably changing all the time. Smaller consoles mean smaller components, which in turn mean costs go down and we can all understand what that means… it gets cheaper for us consumers. Only time will tell what the next big thing is going to be but seeing how things are developing today, don’t expect that big thing to arrive any time soon.

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