Microsoft announced it will chop prices on its Xbox 360 video game systems. While there are several 360 models, the lowest-end Arcade edition will cost $199 starting on Friday, making it the first current-generation console to bop below $200.
This new price packs a serious 1-2 punch against today’s video-game crop: For one, it undercuts the $250 Nintendo Wii, which has enjoyed the title of reigning console champion thanks to casual gamers. The Wii's catalogue of fun, simple games and a competitive price tag has translated to a huge boost in sales for Nintendo. Americans bought more than three times as many Wiis than 360s in June (666,700 units vs. 219,800) and more than twice as many in July (555,000 vs. 205,000), according to NPD research.
The 360 price cut also plugs into a more psychological trend. Consumers set up weird mental hurdles for themselves. For two years, I eyed a particular line of LCD TV but refused to seriously consider buying one until the $1,200 price came down. Two weeks ago, the 32-incher dropped below $700 and now it’s sitting in my living room.
In today's economy, plenty of Americans have been waiting for a similar price reduction before buying a current-gen system – or, in some houses, before picking their second.