The estimated retail price (ERP) for the Arcade SKU is now €199.99/£159.99 – a price drop of €80/£50. Amazon will be retailing the machine for £149.99, though strangely enough the price cut posted on the Amazon site this morning had been changed back to the previous £159.99 at the time of writing.
Presumably Amazon had its knuckles rapped by Microsoft for letting the cat out of the bag before the ‘official’ announcement. We should hear back from the online retailer shortly to confirm what happened today.
The official line
And here is that very announcement: “From Friday, 14 March, Xbox 360, which includes a 20GB hard drive and one wireless controller, will have an ERP of £199.99 – a saving of £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 £259.99 – a saving of £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 £159.99 – a saving of £40.”
“Xbox 360 is now mass market in Europe,” said Chris Lewis, vice president, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business Europe. “We have reached and surpassed several key milestones that form part of our long term strategic plan to achieve critical mass in Europe; and our portfolio now offers the kind of mainstream entertainment experiences that secure wider appeal for Xbox 360. These factors allow us to execute on our strategy to widen the market for Xbox 360, as planned.
“We continue to offer intense, immersive gaming experiences for gamers – but now we’re priced in a way that will allow new consumers to find out for themselves why Xbox 360 is the ultimate in high-definition entertainment,” said Lewis.
“History shows that £159.99 is the price point where a console’s audience begins to expand, and with these new ERPs in place we’re ready to bring more consumers into the Xbox 360 world.”
We await further comment from Amazon, Play.com, EA, Ubisoft, Activision and other retailers and publishers responding to the official news from Microsoft.