Xbox prepares for Xmas

Johannesburg, 08 Oct 2008

In response to the economic downturn, Microsoft is dropping the estimated retail price (ERP) of its Xbox 360 range.

In the Southern African region, the company hopes to at least equal the success of the European market, which saw more than six million units sold when the ERP was dropped there earlier this year.

The entry-level Arcade console now has an ERP of R1 799, while the higher end Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a 120GB hard drive, will have an ERP of R3 499.99.

“With shoppers tightening their belts and feeling the pinch of prices on the rise, staying in is becoming a more viable form of sociable entertainment,” says Marc Batten, head of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business SA.

“In the line-up for Christmas, you can expect over 90 new games, including some really innovative entertainment experiences. Together with these groundbreaking new price points, we hope to continue to enjoy fantastic momentum in SA.”

Batten notes that Xbox wants to broaden its market base. A Microsoft statement says the new ERPs are part of Microsoft's ongoing strategy to extend high-definition gaming and entertainment to a wider audience.

Console war

Market research firm Enterbrain states Microsoft sold 53 547 units of the Xbox 360 in Japan, during September, compared to the 33 071 units of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3). Nintendo maintained its leading position in the Japanese console market, having sold 109 548 units of the Wii during the month.

Locally, Microsoft's Xbox 360 is winning the next-generation console war, selling 65 000 units by the end of the second quarter of this year. More than 40 000 PS3 units were sold, with the Wii having the fastest introduction of all the next-generation platforms, reaching approximately 45 000 sold units by the end of the second quarter.

Batten says Microsoft hopes to pick up the momentum of the Xbox 360's sales and is sure the lower ERPs will go a long way towards entrenching the console.

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