Microsoft has unexpectedly responded to Sony’s long overdue European PlayStation 2 price cut by slashing Xbox to £159.99 a drop of £40 and a £10 saving on PS2. The new price point will become effective on August 30th, the same day as Sony’s equivalent. Nintendo will not be following suit and cutting the price of its GameCube according to Nintendo of Europe president David Gosen, who was speaking at a press event in London coinciding with the start of ECTS.
The Xbox price cut places it comfortably between GameCube at £129.99 and the more expensive PlayStation 2 a useful place for Microsoft’s console to be with a strong line-up of Christmas titles to back it up.
The video games industry is more robust than ever this year, and new consoles and games are expected to dominate Christmas wish lists, said Sandy Duncan, Vice President, Xbox Europe. Xbox is extremely well-positioned to be at the top of those lists because it’s the best value. The intense power and gaming experiences consumers get with Xbox is simply unsurpassed.
With Xbox Live taking shape in the US and Europe at the moment, one would expect attractively priced bundle packages to squeeze Sony’s belated alternative out of contention. Microsoft was also keen to point out that single players can expect the likes of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Toejam & Earl III, Panzer Dragoon ORTA and Halo-beater Brute Force in the run up to Christmas.
Meanwhile the Nintendo GameCube will not be falling in price in reaction to yesterday’s price cuts for PS2 and Xbox, according to Nintendo of Europe president David Gosen, who was speaking at a press event in London coinciding with the start of ECTS.
Aided by a video appearance by NCL president Satoru Iwata, a short Q&A with a market analyst from Datamonitor and an appearance from the voice actor behind Mario and Luigi, Gosen outlined the success of both GameCube and Game Boy Advance since launch, and argued that the company does not need to cut its price to remain competitive.
The GameCube remains between 50 and 60 euro cheaper than its rivals, he pointed out, and emphasised the strong line-up of software for the console in the run-up to Christmas. He also fired some shots across the bow of Microsoft, pointing an accusing finger at the fact that this is their second price drop since the launch of the Xbox and claiming that it has been driven by low sales of the Xbox which has, he claims, an installed base of less than 500,000.
No new announcements were made at the short breakfast presentation, with the message to journalists and trade alike being very much that Nintendo’s consoles are successful and the company intends to continue as planned allowing Sony and Microsoft to circle around each other trying to anticipate the others next move, in Gosen’s words, while the GameCube continues to sell strongly thanks to its competitive price point and strong software brands.