Nintendo, Microsoft Lower Console Prices

Microsoft this week revealed a temporary $50 rebate on its Xbox 360 Elite, giving gamers a cheaper-than-usual way to buy into its high-end video game console. But while Microsoft's cuts are just temporary, Nintendo is going all the way: For the first time ever, the company has lowered prices on its best-selling Wii console, which now costs just $200 in the United States.

Microsoft's rebate cuts the prices of the Xbox 360 Elite to $250, which isn't bad considering the console was selling for $400 just a few months ago. The Xbox 360 Elite includes a 120 GB hard drive and comes in sleek black plastic, unlike the other Xbox 360 models, which have all been white. The $50 rebate is good on Elite consoles purchased through October 5 in the United States only, Microsoft says.

Nintendo had long resisted cutting prices on the Wii, which has consistently outsold the Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. But with the global economic collapse finally catching up on the video game industry, Nintendo finally reacted this week, slashing the price of the Wii from $250 to $200 in the United States. That price now matches the price of the low-end Xbox 360 Arcade, which, like the Wii, also ships without a hard drive. Nintendo's price cut is effective on September 27.

After a dull summer, the video game industry should pick up as soon as this month, thanks to the kick-off of the holiday 2009 sales season, which typically brings with it a collection of blockbuster games for each console. First up is this week's release of Halo 3: ODST for the Xbox 360, which roared out of the gates with almost a million gamers playing the game worldwide in its first 24 hours of availability. That's not too shabby for a game that is pretty much a tired retread of a 2007 title, and it shows that gamers still have a soft spot for the Halo franchise

TAGS: Windows 8
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