This is like U.S. presidential elections. No sooner do we have a conclusion to a two-year orgy of rumor and speculation than another immediately begins.
But a sampling of analysts turn up some who believe that, sure, Microsoft will follow suit with an Xbox 360 slimline design.
The pros for such a move: If the re-engineering cost can be held down, smaller product means lower costs in shipping, packaging, and more space on the shelf. Also, Microsoft seems to have beaten the RRoD with the Jasper motherboard, but actively marketing "New, more reliable Xbox!" in the same old case rings a bit hollow. A new case gives enough cover for such a campaign.
Cons: Jasper solved RRoD, and so that effort and outlay represents Microsoft's re-engineering of the console; marketing "new more reliable Xbox!" diminishes and reminds the existing installation base it has the "old, less reliable Xbox!" And aside from the me-tooism, Microsoft's better bet is in selling different hard drive configurations - and a 360 slim would likely require either its own line of removable drives, or have an internal-only unit.
That said, here's your cheerleader for a 360 slim: David Cole, DFC Intelligence, speaking to Industry Gamers.
"I think it is a question of when not if. However, the when part is a big uncertainty...rumors have been going on for a long time. I think people were asking me the same question last year at this time. As cost efficiencies allow smaller and more reliable is always a good thing. However, you also have something like Project Natal which could also tie in with hardware redesigns. There are a lot of questions Microsoft must weigh internally and there are always going to arguments on both sides of the fence around timing. So I don't know, but in our DFC forecasts we anticipated a major redesign in 2010 ....so I guess that was our bet."
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360 Slim? Analysts Weigh In [Industry Gamers]