Sony started the price-slashing game in July with a $100 drop on its Playstation 3 console, from $599 to $499. There were rumors then that Microsoft would move to cut the tag of its XBox 360 systems too; now, finally, it's done so. On the XBox site today, the company announced a $50 price cut in its middle-of-the-line Premier model. The system -- which ships with a 20 GB hard drive, a wireless controller, and a headset -- will now sell for $349.99. The Elite model -- with a 120 GB drive -- comes down $30, to $449.99. The low-priced, hard-drive-free Core system was also cut $20, to $279.99.
At last month's E3 games convention, Microsoft announced a version of the XBox dressed up in the colors of the smash-hit game "Halo." That model, the company says now, will sell for $399.
In its statement, Microsoft notes that the price cut comes just before the release of Electronic Arts' "Madden NFL 08," the new version of the extremely popular football game. The game is available on virtually every platform, but MS says its release makes now a very good time to "jump into Xbox 360."
The other big reason is the third installment of "Halo," which will be released at the end of September only on XBox 360. Microsoft had long been touting XBox-exclusive add-ons of "Grand Theft Auto IV" as another reason to buy one of its game consoles this year; last week that game's publisher, though, announced that it won't come out until next spring.
Oh, and I'd be remiss not to note one more thing about the XBox price cut -- it's a real, lasting price cut, not a mere while-supplies-last affair that Sony put out for the PS3. So if you want a cheap XBox, you have time to wait; but soon the only PS3 you'll be able to buy will set you back $600.