Microsoft Christmas games: Xbox 360 for $199

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Redmond (WA) – Following a previously announced price cut for the Xbox 360 in Japan, Microsoft today said that it will reduce the price of the console for U.S. customers as well. For the very first time, you will be able to buy an Xbox 360 for less money than a Nintendo Wii and for half the price of a PS3.

Microsoft is apparently reacting to declining sales of its Xbox 360 game console and is setting the stage for the Christmas sales season. The company today said that the Xbox 360 Arcade system will be reduced from $279 to $199, the Xbox 360 60 GB will drop from $349 to $299 and the Xbox 360 Elite will be sold for $399 instead of $449.

Microsoft’s pricing compares to $249 for the Nintendo Wii and at least $399 for the Sony PS3 80 GB. If the fact that the Xbox 360 Arcade has no hard drive storage out of consideration, you could pick up an entry-level Xbox 360 for half the money you would pay for the cheapest PS3. Microsoft desperately needs its Xbox 360 to increase again: Sony’s PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 in five of first seven months of the year and appeared to be falling behind more quickly in recent months – even without the effect of blockbuster game releases. In July, Sony sold 225,000 PS3s while Microsoft sold only 205,000 Xbox 360 units. Nintendo plays in a different league with 667,000 consoles sold during the month.

Microsoft announced a temporary price drop for its 20 GB Xbox 360 in July in a move to transition to its successor, a 60 GB $349 “Pro” version. Conceivably, Microsoft should have made the price drop to $299 back then to support its game console sales.

Sony updated its 40 GB PS3 to 80 GB in July as well and decided to leave the price at $399. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 now seems to be the bargain among the three game consoles and Sony may have to cut the price of its entry-level console by the end of the year.