It doesn't look as though Microsoft is letting Sony steal all the thunder, as the headline-shattering news of the PlayStation 2's long-awaited price-drop to $99 has aroused the software giant's attention. To help combat the latest volley by the Japanese giant, it looks like Microsoft has intents to do some price-dropping of their own with the Xbox 360.
It won't take the second-generation Xbox console 9 years to do it, either, as the Xbox 360 is expected to drop its $199 retail tag from $199 to the considerably lower $129, taking the sweet spot once occupied by the PlayStation 2. This represents a massive $70 (US dollars) drop for the Acade Unit, which ships without a hard drive. No word yet if Microsoft plans to follow suit with their Pro Console (currently $299 w/60 GB) or the struggling Elite console ($399 w/120 GB). This allows Microsoft to keep bragging rights as the current-generation's most inexpensive console, with the Nintendo Wii sticking with its original $249 price, and the PlayStation 3 console at $399.
Leaked advertisements on the internet seem to confirm the Xbox 360's price reduction, which directly follows the April 1st price-reduction of the PlayStation 2 unit. Rumors had pegged Sony to drop the retail price of their third-place PlayStation 3 console, which is the only current-generation gaming machine to see yearly sales drops since its November 2006 release. Currently, the Xbox 360 is the second most-popular gaming console with worldwide sales of nearly 30 million units sold. The Nintendo Wii remains the most popular choice, having sold nearly 50 million units worldwide, despite a one-year disadvantage over Microsoft's machine.
No word yet as to when Microsoft plans to unveil the price-reduction, but sources put the date somewhere before Friday, April 10th, just before the lucrative Easter Shopping season and just prior to Good Friday.
As many of you guessed (and a surprising number of you almost defended), Microsoft has no plans to dramatically lower the cost of their Xbox 360 console...at least none that we know of. The above "report" is complete poppycock, as is the included photo.
To be fair, the image above wasn't simply some advertisement (i.e. Target circular) that was hacked to pieces with shoddy Photoshop skills, but rather a completely original creation, rendered 100% using shoddy Photoshop skills. We did our best to include several clues that eagle-eyed readers could point to as reasons for the fake, including an Xbox 360 Pro console (backwards), as well as a 40 GB PlayStation 3 console with included DualShock 3 (not to mention the mix-matched games that kept repeating).
We were going to include (partially) a Super Nintendo console as well, complete with the tagline "Wow, 16-bits! ", but can imagine the widespread panic such a classic reintroduction might have caused? Madness!
Anyway, thanks for playing along, and we can only hope that Microsoft's reality will someday resemble our surreality. Here's looking forward to next year!!