Xbox 360 Core and Elite price drops coming?

Another retailer ad promotes deals on Microsoft's latest, with cheaper asking prices for all three current hardware setups.

Source: A scan of a Circuit City ad flier sent to Joystiq.

The official story: "We have no announcements to make on pricing at this time. While price matters, content is king. And no other system is offering all the games people want to play this holiday at a better price than Xbox 360. With games like Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Madden NFL 08, Guitar Hero III and Rock Band to name a few, we have the greatest holiday line up in video game history."--A Microsoft representative, pulling out the same old chestnut as the last time Xbox 360 price cut rumors came up. And the time before that.

What we heard: Last week the Hollywood Reporter cited retail sources in reporting that Microsoft would be dropping the price of the Xbox 360 by $50 on August 8. Yesterday, two scans of upcoming Sunday newspaper ads from Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us bolstered that rumor with $50 price cuts listed for the Xbox 360 Premium, but there was still no word on how much, if at all, prices would fall for the Elite and Core systems.

Today a scan of an upcoming Circuit City circular popped up online, and it advertises the price drop for the Premium system, as well as breaks on the cost of the Core and Elite. According to the ad, the Core cost will fall $20 to $279.99, while the price of the Elite will drop $30 to $449.99. The ad also says those who purchase the Premium system will receive a free copy of Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis, although that appears to be a Circuit City-specific promotion.

It seems pretty obvious that Microsoft told its retail partners about a price cut that would be safe to advertise in mid-August. Plans can change, but much like the way Sony's price cut was similarly spoiled by retailer ads, this is essentially a lock. All that's left to be seen is whether or not Microsoft will fess up to the price cut and put it into effect now, or let excitement for the drop wither as it continues playing coy.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus.

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