Microsoft has pre-empted the launch of Sony's Playstation 3 Slim with a £30 reduction in the price of its high end gaming console the Xbox 360 Elite; the latter now comes with a suggested retail price of £199.
In comparison, the Playstation 3 costs £249 officially although there are at least two places where buyers can get it for as little as £230. The Nintendo Wii is the only other lounge console whose price hasn't been reduced; it currently carries a SRP of £179.
However, given the fact that Nintendo still makes a profit from each console and currently sells more gaming console in the UK than Microsoft and Sony put together, there is a very slim chance that the latest price cuts will change the Wii's price.
The Xbox 360 Elite comes with 120GB storage and will offer a number of non gaming features over the next few months. Users will be able to use it as a media centre, watching live TV using Sky Player, listening to music via LastFM and updating their Twitter and Facebook accounts.
As expected the Xbox 360 Pro which has a 60GB hard disk drive has been phased out; its selling price will be reduced; CCL Online sells the Xbox 360 Pro with a 60GB HDD for £166.
Get the latter as soon as possible if you can't fork out the additional £33 for the Elite as the price of the Xbox 360 Arcade will see a significant hike in price, pushing it up to £160, a £30 increase.
Both Microsoft and Sony have made the price cuts ahead of the forthcoming holiday season; Christmas is "only" 15 weeks away for now and both will try to outdo each other in order to increase their sales. Chris Lewis, vice president Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Europe said that, "With the Christmas season right around the corner, it’s already time to start looking for entertainment and gifts that everyone will enjoy"