Microsoft Drops Xbox 360 Prices in Asia

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Microsoft has announced price drops for its Xbox 360 video game consoles in four Asian markets, hoping to ramp up overseas demand for the gaming platform. The price drops are slated for South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with the price for the 20 GB edition of the Xbox 360 dropping by as much as 20 percent (in Singapore), although South Koreans will see only a modest 5 percent price drop. The move comes a month after Microsoft lowered the price of Xbox 360 systems in Europe by as much as 28 percent.

“This price drop is part of Microsoft’s ongoing strategy to bring Xbox’s high-definition gaming and entertainment experience to an even wider user base,” the company said in a statement. The Xbox 360 competes against the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii in the “next generation” video game console market, but has been available a year longer than either of its rival consoles. The price cuts make the Xbox 360 more competitive against its rivals, but may not win over many new fans, since Asian gamers have shown little reticence about paying even higher prices for the PlayStation 3 console. Some industry watchers point out that the Xbox 360 has comparatively few games designed for Asian markets: until Microsoft can offer games that appeal to Asian consumers, the Xbox 360 may always struggle to compete in those markets against offerings from Nintendo and Sony.

That said, Microsoft continues to earn money off its Xbox 360 business, even in the wakes of setting aside over $1 billion in mid-2007 to deal with warranty extensions and repairing faulty consoles. The company says it has sold more than 19 million consoles worldwide, and posted a 68 percent increase in revenue for its entertainment division in its most recent quarter. The recent launch of Grand Theft Auto IV—coupled with Xbox-exclusive content on Xbox Live—is positioning the Xbox 360 for continued growth…just maybe not in Asia.

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