Although consumers will be able to pick up Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console for a lower price come this weekend, gamers in the Asia-Pacific region will have to wait a little while longer. Microsoft said consumers in that region can expect lower-priced Xbox 360 models starting Sept. 10, which the company may announce at a press conference scheduled for next Wednesday in Japan.
The company also revealed new pricing for the Xbox 360 Elite console in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, which translates into a roughly 25 percent reduction, or around $305, depending on exchange rates. Leong said the reduction in price was achieved by removing the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cable included previously in Elite consoles. She explained the delay between the U.S. price reduction and that for the Asia-Pacific region was due to the fact that those HDMI-less consoles won't reach store shelves until Sept. 10.
The price cuts at home and abroad are likely to escalate the console war between Sony's PlayStation 3 (which received a major price cut last week), the Xbox 360 and Nintendo's motion-sensitive Wii, the least expensive and most successful of the three so far. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a $100 price cut on the Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite console in the United States, which prices the console at $299.99. Eventually, Microsoft will offer only the Xbox 360 Pro and the Xbox 360 Arcade, which retails for $199 and lacks a hard drive.
For the PlayStation 3 price cut this week, Sony shaved the price for the 120GB version to $299, starting Sept. 1, while the price of the PS3 with a 160GB hard disk drive was reduced to $399 on Aug. 18. Many analysts have said a price cut is essential to boosting the console's hope for success against lower-priced competitor and particularly the Wii, which retails for $249.99 and has crossed into non-traditional demographics due to a motion-sensitive controller and a focus on family-friendly games.
Video-game sales have suffered in the recessionary environment, with sales in July falling 24 percent year over year, to $848.8 million. Sales of gaming systems and consoles dropped to $280.9 million, a 37 percent drop over the same quarter in 2008. Microsoft's Xbox 360 has managed to outsell Sony's PlayStation 3, but continues to lag behind Nintendo's Wii gaming platform. Overall, Microsoft has sold 31.4 million Xbox 360 units since the device's release.