| |

Microsoft Cuts Xbox 360 Elite Price to $299

Only one week after Sony announced the PS3 Slim and dropped the price of the PS3 to a lower level than the Xbox 360 Elite, Microsoft has announced that they will match the PS3’s price. The price cut from $399 to $299 brings the Xbox 360 Elite to the same level as the PS3 Slim. Both consoles sport a 120GB hard drive, although the PS3 hard drive can be replaced with a larger one. Lacking in the cheaper Elite bundle are HD AV cables, an HDMI cable, as well as built-in Wi-Fi.

The price of the Xbox 360 Pro, which was retailing at the $299 price that the Elite is now going for, will be reduced to $249. That system, which comes with a 60GB hard drive, is being phased out altogether. The Xbox 360 Arcade unit, which does not have a hard drive at all (although it does have 512MB of memory for Xbox dashboard installs), will continue to retail for $199. Should you choose to upgrade the Arcade system with a new 120GB hard drive it will run you $149.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

“You cannot underestimate the fact that we have two consoles. If you have $200 in your pocket today, you can go buy an Xbox 360,” Aaron Greenberg, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live director of product management, told GameSpot. “I think a big part of the reason why–at a time where Nintendo and Sony are seeing double-digit year-over-year declines, and we’re actually up 17 percent–is due to that mass-market price point.”

This is the first time that the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii are all on relatively even footing in terms of price. For the PS3 to launch at $600 and now be cut in half to a more reasonable $300 – that alone should be a tremendous boost in sales for Sony. Despite being the cheapest of the three out there, Xbox 360 has continued to lag behind Wii in month-to-month sales. That might not be the case for long, though, as Nintendo’s console has shown signs of slowing in recent months. Holiday 2009 should be an interesting battle indeed.