Powerful Xbox 360 Now Cheaper than Nintendo's Wii

Dennis Faas's picture

Hoping to end Nintendo's reign atop the console rankings, Microsoft has announced it will be slashing the price of its Xbox 360 console in North America. As of Friday, September 5th, the system famous for Halo 3, Gears of War, and Project Gotham Racing will slide as low as $199.

The move comes not long after the company announced it would be cutting prices in Japan, arguably the Xbox 360's weakest market. That wasn't very surprising to most North American gamers and game experts, who for a long time have watched Microsoft struggle to rope in PlayStation and Wii-friendly Japanese players. The Xbox 360's primary strength may be its fantastic first- and third-person shooters (like Halo and Gears, respectively). Those simply aren't popular in the Far East.

Much more surprising is the North American announcement. Although Microsoft has struggled against Nintendo's Wii, it has for the most part trounced Sony's once-overpriced PlayStation 3. That hold on second place is fast slipping, however, as Sony releases more and more popular titles for the PS3. In addition, Microsoft now has the disadvantage of an HD movie-less next-gen console, with the PlayStation 3 still the best option for upgrading to Blu-ray.

So, how cheap is the 360 now?

The premium edition of the Xbox 360, the black 120 GB Elite, will drop $80 to $399, the 60 GB Pro from $399 to $349, and the very basic Arcade from $279 to a shocking $199. That's fifty bucks cheaper than Nintendo's Wii, which, although popular, boasts zero HD powers or even common DVD playback.

Experts are lauding the move. Analyst Michael Pachter expects Microsoft to surge about 20% in sales over the highly-competitive holiday season. Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich, who believes Microsoft's list of exclusive franchises is second to none, argues the price cut and anticipated fall releases will keep the Xbox 360 well ahead of the rising PS3. (Source: gamespot.com)

Still, not everyone is pleased. MTV.com rightly points out that although you can now buy the system for less than $200, you'll still shell out $50 for a single controller. (Source: mtv.com)

Clearly, that's where Microsoft hopes to make up its losses. With Gears of War 2 expected this Christmas season -- packing plenty of multiplayer -- the Redmond-based company may very well get its wish.

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