XBox Sees Price Drop - For Real This Time

Sony, Microsoft Announce Virtual Worlds

Back in July we reported on the temporary price drop of the 20gb Xbox 360 to $299, in anticipation of the new 60gb model at the standard “Pro System” price of $349. Now, thanks to reports from Radio Shack and Walmart advertising pamphlets, as well as employees from Best Buy and Gamestop, we’ve learned of a real price drop, reducing the prices of every Xbox 360 model across the line.

The most substantial drop will be that of the low-end Xbox 360 Arcade model. The model does not have a hard drive, instead shipping with just a 256mb Memory Card. While this is hardly enough for gamers wanting to experience demos, downloadable content extending gameplay, or videos from the Xbox Live Marketplace, it is plenty for those just wanting to experience HD, Current Gen gaming. The Arcade currently sells for $279, but US gamers wanting a deal need only wait until Sunday September 7th, when the price will drop to $199. This makes the system the first of the current generation to drop below the $200 barrier, with the Wii still selling out consistently at $250 and the PS3 yet to drop below $399 for a new system.

The other models, the Pro and the Elite, will also see price drops. The Pro, now with 60gb hard drive, drops to $299 from $349. The Elite, with 120gb of storage and an included HDMI cable for true high definition visuals also trims 50 bucks off the price, going from $449 to $399. No confirmations of any full games shipping with the systems have come yet, though none currently have bundled titles. The Arcade has demos of games that can be purchased on XBLM. Microsoft has yet to officially acknowledge the price drops, but the evidence is now overwhelming.

The US price drop comes hot on the heels of (and in fact will actually happen before) the officially announced price drops in Japan. As of September 11th, Japanese gamers can purchase the Arcade for about $180, the Pro for about $270, and the Elite for about $370. Aside from one week just a couple weeks ago, when Tales of Vesperia premiered in the island nation, sales of Microsoft’s system have been anemic at best. The company hopes the price drop, accompanied by several Role Playing Games from Square Enix, can help boost sales amongst the Nintendo and Sony loyalists.

One last variable remaining is the fate of the 20gb Pro systems still sitting on store shelves. Currently clearanced at $299, they’re about to be priced out by their new bigger brother. The safe money has them selling around $249, though none of the revealed advertisements have shown that yet. Either way, gamers will have a less expensive way to get into the current generation soon.

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