Though Microsoft still hasn't made it official, every media outlet from Kotaku to the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that the Xbox 360 Pro will soon cost just $299. The move lops $50 off the price of the console and--once in effect--will make it just $50 more than the Nintendo Wii and $100 cheaper than the $399 40GB PlayStation 3.
In the past, such moves have sparked tit-for-tat price wars. In 2004, Microsoft dropped the cost of the original Xbox to $149, only to see Sony do the same to the PlayStation 2 weeks later. Last summer, Sony discontinued the 60GB PS3 by pricing it to sell at $499--a move that was quickly followed by Microsoft discounting its Xbox 360 models to $279 (HDD-less Arcade), $349 (20GB Pro), and $449 (120GB Elite).
Four months later, Sony introduced the $399 40GB PS3, a move that has put the PS3 and 360 neck-and-neck in sales ever since. Though the June US sales numbers are not yet out, many expect the introduction of the $499 80GB Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle to further boost the platform at retail.
So will Microsoft's latest move spark a response from Sony? No, according to Nobuyuki Oneda, the electronics giant's chief financial officer. "Our plan is not to reduce the price," the executive told the Nomura Asia Equity forum in Singapore, reports Dow Jones. "Our strategy is not to sell more quantity for PS3 but to concentrate on profitability."
Sony's emphasis on making the PS3 profitable has greatly lessened the console's drag on the company's finances. In an annual earnings report issued in May, Sony reported that the ¥124.5 billion ($1.1 billion) loss for its games division was down ¥107.8 billion ($954 million) from the previous year's record $2 billion loss.