UK retailers have initiated an unseasonal series of unofficial price cuts for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2, with the Core Xbox 360 bundle enjoying widespread price cuts in many stores.
Price cuts of up to £50 ($98) have been observed for the Core bundle, dropping the price from a suggested retail price of £199.99 ($390) to £149.99 ($292) – less than the current retail price of the still low in stock Wii, at £179.99 ($351).
Price reductions for the Premium bundle have been less prevalent though, with online retailer Play.com, which appears to have been the catalyst for the Core price cuts, leaving the price at £279.99 ($546) and rival Amazon.co.uk cutting it to only £269.96 ($526).
With no official announcement of a price cut from Microsoft, and the varying nature of the discounts from store to store, speculation has already mounted that the moves have come in advance of a much rumored new hardware configuration for the Xbox 360. These rumors have centered around suggestions of a larger hard drive and HDMI port, but no official information on new hardware has been released.
At the same time as the Xbox 360 price cut, Wal-Mart owned supermarket chain Asda, the second largest in the UK, has cut the price of the PlayStation 2 from £69.99 ($136) to just £50 ($98) for a limited period. As with the Xbox 360, the price cut is not official, the only apparent reason for the move being the recent release of prominent exclusives Okami
and Final Fantasy XII
in the UK.