Microsoft this week cut prices on its Xbox 360 console lineup in Europe, a move the company hopes will spur sales in a suddenly competitive market. The price cuts make the cheapest Xbox 360 even less expensive than Nintendo's surprisingly hot Wii console, and place all Xbox 360 consoles significantly below the cost of even the cheapest Sony PlayStation 3 model.
"Xbox 360 is now mass market in Europe," said Chris Lewis, the vice president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business in Europe. The company didn't discuss whether it would cut prices in other markets, such as the US.
The price cuts range from 18 percent to 28 percent, depending on the model. The low-end Xbox 360 Arcade, which includes a 256 MB Memory Unit instead of a hard drive like other Xbox models, dropped in price from about $400 to about $300. The mid-line Xbox 360, cunningly branded as the "Xbox 360," dropped from about $400 to about $500. The high-end Xbox 360 Elite dropped from about $600 to about $520. By comparison, the Wii costs about $382 in Europe, while the two PS3 models sell for $613 and $766, respectively. (As with most other electronics items, video game consoles sell for less in the US than in Europe.)
Microsoft's aggressive price cuts come just after the company saw its Xbox 360 console fall to third place for the first time. In January, the console was outsold by both the Wii and the PS3, the latter of which had performed poorly for most of its life. Microsoft sold 230,000 Xbox 360s in January, compared to 274,000 Wiis and 251,000 PS3s.