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Retail praises timing of Xbox 360 price cut

Leading UK retailers have told <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> that the Xbox 360 price cut is perfect timing for the Easter sales period and it will give the console a boost into more mainstream markets.

Leading UK retailers have told GamesIndustry.biz that the Xbox 360 price cut is perfect timing for the Easter sales period and it will give the console a boost into more mainstream markets.

The Arcade unit now retails in the UK for GBP 159.99, the Premium console for GBP 199.99 and the high-end Elite machine for GBP 259.99, following yesterday's price cut.

Tim Ellis, head of games for HMV, expects the price reduction will help sell more hardware and software after a traditionally quiet retail period.

"We're certainly expecting a discernible lift in hardware sales, and through this, an increase in demand for key software titles also," he said.

"The timing is good - especially as we are now entering the Easter holidays trading period. A balance in timing is always important, but now could be a good moment to re-inject some momentum into the market following the post-Christmas lull," offered Ellis.

Tricia Brennan, UK managing director at GAME was also upbeat about the move.

"We feel that this is a very positive move from Microsoft, and our customers will be delighted as it will make it easier for even more people to enjoy the Xbox 360's incredible gaming experience," she said.

"With prices now starting at just under GBP 160, there's no doubt that the three different versions of the 360 represent outstanding value for money with the incredible technology and sheer volume of entertainment that they offer."

While some have questioned how effective the price cut will be in the long-term, Steve O'Brien of respected independent stores Action Replay and Gameshop, believes retail will benefit not just during Easter, but into the quieter summer months.

"As we near the Easter sales spike it allows us to take advantage of the increased footfall through our stores, and it will disseminate into the normally quieter following quarters too, which will make a welcome increased revenue stream."

He also said that the new prices place a discernible gap between the 360 and the PlayStation 3, and it's testament to the continued good performance of Microsoft's console that it's only now experiencing a more aggressive price point.

"I think it will yet again set enough daylight between it and the PS3 to give it a strong sales spurt.

"It would be churlish not to agree that the 360 needed another sales push but that said two and a half years without much manoeuvring in its price point is testament to how well it's done in the marketplace," said O'Brien.

As Microsoft prices the Arcade unit below the RRP of Nintendo's Wii and just over half the price of Sony's PlayStation 3, retail is hopeful the Xbox 360 will appeal to a more mainstream consumer.

"The 360 is becoming increasingly popular with mass market customers and this news, combined with the arrival of highly-anticipated family games like Sega Superstars Tennis and Lego Indiana Jones can only accelerate this," observed GAME's Brennan.

"Such a large price reduction is great news for the core gamers as well, especially as it comes in time for the launch of GTA IV and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 in the next few weeks," she added.

Ellis also said that the entertainment retailer had noticed a wider audience attracted to games, and this cheaper price could help Microsoft push out to new consumers.

"There's been a noticeable trend in recent years to suggest the demographic of gamers is broadening out a little — age-wise and also more towards female players — so making the Xbox range more accessible on price must surely help Microsoft to tap into this trend further," he said.

And O'Brien called on publishers to do their bit by offering more family orientated or mainstream products to the Xbox 360 consumer.

"The 360 is the console of the gaming connoisseur, an informed choice. I'd hope that publishers would take note of the price point change and branch out in a similar fashion to attract non-core gamers," he said.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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