When Microsoft announced its decision to drop the price of the Xbox 360 in the US last week, Australian gamers only had one question on their minds: when would the same thing happen down under? The answer, it seems, is today. From August 15, the 20GB-enabled Xbox 360 Pro system will retail for A$579.95 ($486), down from A$649. And perhaps more significantly, the Xbox 360 Core system's price will drop from A$429 to A$399.95. At A$399.95, the Core system is now the same price as a Nintendo Wii in Australia.
Xbox regional director for Australia and New Zealand David McLean says reduced manufacturing costs were the key reason for dropping the Xbox 360's price. McLean says the price drop positions the 360's Pro system favourably against the A$1000 PlayStation 3 in Australia, while the A$399 price point for the Core allows the 360 to compete in the casual market the Wii has cornered.
"I think you'll see, on a games point of view, we're well ahead [of the PS3]. And now once again we're offering all of these experiences at a really affordable price. So I think we will do really well during the holiday period against PlayStation," McLean said. "Our strategy was always to focus on the core and serious gamers. We think we've done a great job there, and the numbers support that. What we now need to do is start thinking about broadening our strategy, and this price movement is a component of that strategy."
McLean said the Xbox 360 Core system would continue to be a key product offering, and denied rumours speculating that the Core would soon be discontinued. "There are no plans to discontinue the Core SKU. We've actually seen over the last few months that the Core has started to grow in terms of sales. We're pretty pleased with the momentum that's been building on the Core, and it's still important for us to provide that level of choice to the customer. We have no intention of discontinuing the Core at this point. Furthermore, this price adjustment and some of things we're planning to do with the product over the holidays will make it a more significant part of the business," he said.