Microsoft has confirmed that beginning March 14th, all UK Xbox 360 models will see a price drop, with the Arcade and Elite models dropping £40 ($80) to £159.99 ($322, now the least expensive next-gen console in the region) and £259.99 ($524), and the standard model down £50 ($100) to £199.99 ($403), with one analyst suggesting the pressure is on Sony to do the same.
In a statement on the price drop, Microsoft notes that Xbox 360 is the number one next-gen console in the territory, with 42 percent of life-to-date sales, and the highest attach rate in Europe at 7 games per console, compared to the PS3's 3.8 and Wii's 3.5 games.
In a separate release, Strategy Analytics principal analyst David Mercer said the move puts Sony "under renewed pressure" with even the highest-end model, the Elite, now £40 less expensive than the PS3.
Said Mercer, “Sony will be nervous that the PS3's recent sales surge may fizzle out now that the premium Xbox 360 undercuts the PS3 by £40, and the cheapest Xbox model is almost half the price of a PS3. Sony will be scrutinising the daily sales reports, but will probably try to hold out until later in the year before making its next price move.”
Microsoft's European Interactive VP Chris Lewis said, “Xbox 360 is now mass market in Europe. We have reached and surpassed several key milestones that form part of our long term strategic plan to achieve critical mass in Europe; and our portfolio now offers the kind of mainstream entertainment experiences that secure wider appeal for Xbox 360. These factors allow us to execute on our strategy to widen the market for Xbox 360, as planned."
"“History shows that £159.99 is the price point where a console’s audience begins to expand," he added, "and with these new ERPs in place we’re ready to bring more consumers into the Xbox 360 world.”