$299 Xbox 360 Elite price cut due August 30?

Source: Gaming blog Kotaku.What we heard: Industry chatter continues unabated that Microsoft is on the verge of rejiggering its Xbox 360 hardware lineup.Currently, Microsoft offers its hardware in three tiers: the $199 hard-drive-less Arcade, the $299 60GB Pro, and the $399 120GB Elite. However,...

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Source: Gaming blog Kotaku.

What we heard: Industry chatter continues unabated that Microsoft is on the verge of rejiggering its Xbox 360 hardware lineup.

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Currently, Microsoft offers its hardware in three tiers: the $199 hard-drive-less Arcade, the $299 60GB Pro, and the $399 120GB Elite. However, according to a Meijer circular obtained by gaming blog Kotaku, Microsoft plans to officially replace the 60GB Xbox 360 Pro with the 120GB Xbox 360 Elite model at the $299 price point as early as August 30.

The change to Microsoft's Xbox 360 SKU lineup has been a hot topic since June. Late in the month, the same source that tipped Ars Technica off to the console's price cut in September 2008 informed the tech site of Microsoft's purported current plans.

Further corroborating evidence emerged last week, when Kotaku received a telling box shot from a retail source purporting to show the new packaging of the hard-drive-less, $199 Xbox 360 Arcade. Unlike the boxes of models shipped earlier this year, the box omits any mention of the 60GB Xbox 360 Pro, indicating that Microsoft would indeed be phasing out the SKU.

Should Microsoft be on the verge of cutting the Elite's price in September, the company certainly has a high-profile venue to make the announcement. Leipzig Games Convention successor GamesCom runs August 19-23 in Cologne, Germany. Microsoft was mostly silent at the 2008 Games Convention--an event that drew more than 200,000 attendees--but the publisher expects to hold its GamesCom press conference this year on Wednesday, August 19, at 1:00 p.m. PDT.

The official story: Microsoft had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. However, the publisher has been keen on responding to similar inquiries with the standard company line: "Microsoft does not comment on rumor or speculation."

Bogus or not bogus?: Looking increasingly not bogus.

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