Rumors of a Xbox 360 price cut for American gamers have been lingering for a while now, following a price cut in Europe and Asia.
So we don't have our precious price drop yet, but Australia and New Zealand now have theirs. As of July 2, all 360 models have been slashed, with the Arcade unit down 50 AUD, putting it at 349 AUD and making it cheaper than the Nintendo Wii. The Pro bundle has gone from 579 AUD to 499, and the Elite is now 649 after dropping 80 AUD.
GameSpot AU confirmed all this with an Xbox executive. Thanks to the cut, the 360's install base now totals over 400,000 units, making it second only to the Wii. In an interview with the site, Jeremy Hinton, Microsoft's Xbox Group Product Marketing Manager in Australia, stated that the price cut really had nothing to do with competition from the PlayStation 3 and Wii:
GS AU: So can this be taken as a sign that--in the Australian market anyway--the 360 is facing a lot more competitive pressure from the Wii and PS3?
JH: No, absolutely not. This is a strategy we've had for some time. Decisions are made not necessarily around what the competition are doing. And from our point of view, the last 12 months have been very successful--more dollars have gone through retail tills on Xbox 360 products than both of our competitors.
According to Hinton, it's simply a tactic to sell more units because more consumers are relying on these price drops as deciding factors in whether or not they plan to purchase a console.
Each region is getting individual consideration from Microsoft, so the price cuts aren't simply a global trend. Hence, just because Europe gets a cut doesn't mean the U.S. will see one so soon after.
Hinton says Microsoft is expecting to see a spike in sales after this move, and there's no doubt the Aussies and Kiwis are pleased with a cheaper machine made available. Now if only they started getting the actual games on time too.