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9/4/2008
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Xbox 360 Price Cuts Take Effect Friday

Microsoft is reducing the price of its hot-selling gaming console as competition with Sony and Nintendo heats up.

Microsoft has slashed the price of its Xbox 360 video game console by almost 30% for some models.

The new prices, which take effect Friday, will see the price of the entry-level Xbox 360 Arcade system fall from $279 to $199. The basic Xbox 360 model, which features a 60GB hard drive, drops to $299 from $349. The high-end Xbox 360 Elite, which includes a 120GB hard drive, will sell for $399—down from $449.

Microsoft announced the price cuts with a statement on the Xbox Web site, "Inviting everyone to play."

Microsoft is looking to maintain recent Xbox sales' momentum in the face of stiff competition from Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii unit.

The 40GB PlayStation 3 sells for $399, while the Nintendo Wii sells for $250.

In its most recent quarter, Microsoft reported that Xbox 360 console sales increased 85% year-over-year to 1.3 million units.

Recent releases of hot-selling game titles, including Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV, have helped spur Xbox 360 sales. Halo 3, an Xbox 360 exclusive, smashed numerous game industry sales records when it debuted late last year—including most launch day sales.

Among the upcoming titles that Microsoft is counting on to further grow Xbox 360 sales is Rock Band 2, which is slated for release in September. The game lets players perform popular songs by using an array of virtual instruments.

Reports have also suggested that Microsoft is developing a Wii-style motion controller for the Xbox. Microsoft has not commented.

Last year, Microsoft took a $1.06 billion charge against earnings to cover the cost of fixing a widespread hardware problem that caused Xbox 360 units to lock up. Microsoft says it has rectified the problem.

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