It seems that British gamers who are willing to shop around can get the Xbox 360 for quite a bit less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price. GamesIndustry.biz reports that discount wholesaler Makro is selling the Premium system for £199.99 (Regularly £279.99) and Joystiq tipster Joanthan pointed out that UK game store Play is selling the Core system for £149.99 (regularly £199.99). The retailer-specific price drops are not officially endorsed by Microsoft, who told GI.biz through a spokesperson that "Xbox does not control the retail price of the Xbox 360" and that "prices are set by retailers."
This statement may seem a little laughable to readers in America, where game hardware prices are remarkably consistent across retailers. In contrast to other consumer electronics, where retailers constantly try to undercut each other on the same merchandise, stores that sell game systems are reluctant to lower the price for fear of being cut off by the manufacturers. Hence, the price of a game system comes down across the board only when the manufacturer decrees it.
Nintendo got a slap on the wrist from the FTC for such price-fixing practices back in 1991, but the lesson doesn't seem to have stuck in today's market. If Wal-mart wants to sell me a system for less than Target, who's the system maker to tell them they can't?