It's official - Microsoft has slashed the price of Xbox 360 in Europe.
Here's the press release:
From Friday, 14th March, Xbox 360, which includes a 20GB hard drive and one wireless controller, will have an ERP of €269.99/£199.99 – a saving of €80/£50 on the current ERP. The Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a massive 120GB hard drive enabling consumers to store huge quantities of content downloaded from Xbox LIVE™ Marketplace as well as their own music, will have an ERP of €369.99/£259.99 – a saving of €80/£40. The Xbox 360 Arcade console, perfect for those wishing to make their first foray into the gaming and entertainment world of Xbox, will have an ERP of €199.99/£159.99 – a saving of €80/£20.
This move is long overdue. Convert the old price of the Xbox 360 Elite into dollars and you get something along the lines of $840 - in the US the same console from Best Buy or Amazon.com costs a little over half that at $450. The old price was simply ridiculous.
In Europe the gaming console market is tied up by Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Wii and this price drop is a sign that Microsoft is looking to aggressively capture more of a market share. This price drop changes the console prices league table, making the Xbox 360 Arcade bundle a cheaper buy than the highly popular Nintendo Wii. However, I'm not sure if Nintendo has anything to worry about since I see the two consoles are appealing to different market segments. This price drops puts far more pressure on the PlayStation than it does on the Wii.
I expect that other players in the console market will have price drops of their own soon.