Xbox 360 gets UK price cut

Microsoft announces a £30 drop in recommended retail price for 360; Elite pricing set at £299.99.

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There have been rumours for some time that the Xbox 360 was due for a price cut in Europe. And now, following on the heels of the US price reduction and the recent Australian announcement, Microsoft UK has revealed that UK and European consumers will be paying less for the Xbox 360 from Friday, and will also be able to get their hands on the Elite edition.

The retail price of an Xbox 360 Pro in the UK will go down to £249.99 ($495) from Friday, August 24, which represents a cut of £30. The Core console, which does not have a hard drive, will be reduced by £20 to £179.99 ($355). In Europe, the Pro console will be cut to 349.99 euros, and the Core will be reduced to 279.99 euros.

At a press event in London, Dan Cornelius, UK marketing manager, Xbox 360 console and accessories, told journalists that the new price point of the Core--which is the same as the Nintendo Wii in the UK--was intended to "open the door to consumers" and to "gain mindshare with parents and families" in time for the holiday season.

Sony's PlayStation 3 currently retails in the UK for around £399 ($790) (in a bundle with an extra controller and games), and the Nintendo Wii at £179 ($355).

Microsoft also announced that Xbox 360 Elite, which launches in the UK this Friday, will have an "estimated" retail price of £299.99 ($595). The Elite edition of the console, which will retail for 449.99 euros in Europe, has a 120GB hard drive and an HDMI port, and comes with a black finish, which Microsoft says "marks the Xbox 360 Elite as...the 'luxury' option for seasoned gamers."

A range of Xbox 360 accessories is also being released in the UK. These include a detachable 120GB hard drive, to enable Xbox 360 owners to increase their consoles' storage capacity, which is estimated to retail at £129.99 ($260). A black wireless controller will also be available, with a price tag of £32.99 ($65), as will a black rechargeable battery pack, priced at £9.99 ($20). A hard-drive migration kit, which performs a one-time transfer of content from a 20GB hard drive to the Elite's hard drive, will be available free of charge at www.xbox.com.

For more on the Xbox 360 Elite, read the GameSpot rundown on what you need to know about the new console.

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