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US Xbox sales double after price cut; Sony plans next move

Microsoft's decision to cut the price of the Xbox by $30 in North America at the end of last month caused weekly sales in the USA to double - while Sony is planning to drop the PS2 to $149 with two bundled games in the coming weeks.

Microsoft's decision to cut the price of the Xbox by $30 in North America at the end of last month caused weekly sales in the USA to double - while Sony is rumoured to be planning to drop the PS2 to $149 with two bundled games in the coming weeks.

The Xbox cut dropped the US price tag to $149 as of March 30th, and the company has confirmed that retailer feedback indicates that sales of the console doubled in the week immediately following the cut.

Some commentators expected that the impact of the cut would be minimal, with $30 being seen as too small a drop to cause significant consumer interest - but with the launch of a special $169 Halo bundle next week, strong sales are likely to be sustained for a few more weeks.

The question, however, is just how long the sales boost will last - with some analysts suggesting that the "bounce" isn't sustainable. Certainly, there are many factors which suggest that Microsoft will cut the Xbox price again before Christmas 2004.

All eyes are now on rival Sony, with sources close to the Japanese giant suggesting that it plans to drop the US PS2 price point to $149 later this month - and will add two games (as yet unnamed) to the bundle as well, bringing the effective price of the hardware below the Xbox.

Sony's ability to respond quickly to Microsoft's price cut (assuming that it had any particular desire to do so) has been hampered by the fact that its financial year ended on March 31st - and making a major alteration to the price point of the PS2 in the fortnight following that date would have raised eyebrows in the Japanese financial community.

Here in the UK, the Xbox situation is confused somewhat by the preponderance of software bundle deals, with Microsoft's EMEA team viewing the price structure in Europe as a completely different proposition to the US structure. However, the team is known to be observing sales trends in the United States carefully, and may implement price cuts here depending on the impact of the Stateside cuts.

Author
Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.