Microsoft Xbox 360 Price Cuts to Come Later for Asia

People in most of the Western world will start seeing price reductions on Xbox 360 game consoles Friday, but Japan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region will have to wait.

Japan, home to Microsoft's biggest rivals in the game console wars, Sony and Nintendo, may see price cuts to Xbox 360 consoles next week, but Microsoft is keeping the official time quiet. The company plans to hold an Xbox news conference in Japan next Wednesday, according to Julie Leong, at Microsoft in Hong Kong.

Other parts of Asia-Pacific will begin enjoying lower priced Xbox 360s on Sept. 10, the company said Friday.

The suggested retail price of an Xbox 360 Elite console with a 120GB hard drive will be lowered by around 28 percent to US$305 in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Microsoft has taken the HDMI cable out of the Xbox 360 Elite, one of the reasons for the price reduction. Amazon.com lists a number of HDMI cables for sale for between $10 to $20.

The difference in timing for the price reductions is because the new Xbox 360 Elites without HDMI cables won't hit stores in Asia until Sept. 10, said Leong. The consoles are also slightly different than consoles sold elsewhere because they conform to television standards used in Japan, which are different from other parts of the world.

The Xbox 360 is not officially sold in China, where the sale of game consoles is restricted.

The announcement follows Microsoft's $100 price cut on the Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite console in the U.S., which will end up at $299.99. The company also lowered the price of the Xbox 360 Pro console to $249.99, a $50 reduction, while the Xbox 360 Arcade remained $199.99.

Microsoft has made some notably different moves with the Xbox 360 in other regions of the world. In the U.K., the company will phase out the Xbox 360 Pro, which has a 60GB hard drive, and only sell the Elite and Arcade versions of the console in future.

Just over a week ago, Sony lopped $100 off the price of its premium PlayStation 3 game console to $299.99 in the U.S. That machine boasts a Blu-ray Disc player in addition to gaming functions. Sony has sought to make the device a product for anyone's living room, not just people who enjoy games.

Some reports indicate the price reductions by Microsoft and Sony pressure Nintendo to follow suit on the Wii, which at US$249.99 remains less expensive than its rivals.

(Owen Fletcher in Beijing contributed to this report)

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