Rumor: Microsoft Preps Big Xbox 360 Price Drop

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft might just be readying a (very) early Christmas gift from 'ol Saint Nic. Rumors are that the Redmond-based company will soon announce a major price cut to its Xbox 360 Elite console, to a rather reasonable $299.

The rumor is due to a catalog page posted on game blog Kotaku showing the 120 GB version of the console for just under $300. The ad belongs to Meijer, a popular Midwest grocery chain in the same market as Wal-Mart. According to reports, the Meijer catalog should ship around August 30, meaning that the Elite could be available for the low price shortly after the beginning of September -- just in time to distract kids from their school work. (Source:

MS Hoping Christmas Comes Early

Of course, the real intent is to rally excitement as we begin the long home stretch into the Christmas holidays. Unlike previous years, there's very little hardware prepped to ship this fall, meaning it will be up to companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to push their products via bundle deals and other price-slashing schemes.

As for those not familiar with the Elite, it's considered Microsoft's flagship edition of the Xbox 360. Its two big features include an HDMI port providing 1080p resolution and a 120 GB hard drive capable of storing all the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) downloads one can handle. As more and more folks download digital copies of games (EA's Battlefield 1943, released this summer, was the hottest download-only console game ever released), the 20 GB "Pro" hard drive has proven far too slender.

In fact, there are now whispers that an Elite price drop could mean the end of the Xbox 360 Pro altogether. (Source:

Will Price Cuts Work?

Still, the challenge for Microsoft is too somehow lure gamers away from Nintendo's Wii, which continues to hold the gaming industry by its throat. With movie and game downloads, excellent online play, HD playback, and some of the best software on the market, the fact that the Elite is now just $50 more than a Wii -- which features last-gen graphics and zero DVD playback -- makes it quite the steal.

However, those after the Wii represent a completely different consumer base, making the Elite's price drop somewhat less relevant.

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