Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite console could be edging closer to being released in the UK. A sudden price drop in the Xbox 360 Premium's retail price on Play.com has sparked the rumours.

Back in March, we reported that the 360 Elite was set to launch in the UK at some point in the late summer. Then an HMV spokesperson spoke to Eurogamer, and said: "All we understand is that it's at some point perhaps around the late summer, but we don't know anything beyond that.

"We're expecting the product to be sold sooner rather than later, and obviously nearer that point we'll have a fuller idea of all their launch plans, precise timings, pricing and everything else from a retail point of view we're likely to know."

Then last week came the rumour that the Elite would launch in Europe on the 24th of August . That fitted in nicely with the earlier 'late summer' statement by the HMV man.

Elite Xbox headed for UK?

And now Play.com has cut almost 20 per cent from the retail price of the current Xbox 360 Premium console. It's yet another hint that the Elite is destined to appear on a shelf near you before the summer is out.

Play.com already has the Xbox 360 Elite on its site as a viewable product. We put in a few calls to find out what they know but so far we've been stonewalled.

When the 360 Elite launched in the US at the end of April, sales went through the roof. Microsoft will be hoping that the same will happen in the UK and throughout Europe.

The updated console comes with a cool-looking black exterior, HDMI outputs on the back and a spruced up 120GB hard drive.