In the wake of leaked flyers from what seems like every major retailer in the country, Microsoft is finally ready to come clean on the Xbox 360 price drop announcing today a $50 cut on the main console (known informally as the Pro or Premium model) from $399 to $349. The price drop – scheduled for August 8th – is timed to coincide with the August 14th release of Madden NFL 08, one of the three titles that would have made up Microsoft's holiday hat trick (before GTA IV pulled out of the race early). Noting the staggering 624 day stretch since the console's November 2005 launch, Microsoft's Mitch Koch said, "The fact that we have been able to keep our launch price longer than any other console while retaining our leadership position demonstrates that consumers believe in the value of Xbox 360."
It's not just the Premium system getting its price axed. Just like the flyers promised, the Xbox 360 Core will drop $20 to $279 while the Xbox 360 Elite (which should now actually be available in stores) will see a $30 drop to $449. In a brief chat with Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, we had a chance to ask about some of the lingering questions surrounding this price drop. Greenberg was quick to point out this decision was timed to coincide with the launch of Madden and not any cost-cutting measures on their part (read: 65nm processors); however, they wouldn't cite specific details on the components. The Premium console is seeing the largest price reduction since it enjoys the largest percentage of sales, at 80% of all Xbox 360 consoles sold. Specific bundles, like this Table Tennis bundle, are retailer specific and not "channel-wide" according to Greenberg, so don't expect to walk into any old box store and pick one up (that one is Circuit City specific).