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Report: Microsoft could release $200 Xbox this September

If it's true that Microsoft plans to break the magic price point, it could go a long way to helping Microsoft win the next-gen console wars.

Update (Monday, 2:43 PM): This story has been modified to reflect correspondence from Microsoft this morning.

If you can see past the extremely odd prose style of this Ars Technica piece Friday by Ben Kuchera, there's actually some potentially very interesting news there: Microsoft may be ready to truly reach out to the mass market with its Xbox 360.

According to Kuchera, Microsoft may well be readying a new round of price cuts for the Xbox 360.


Remember, just prior to E3, Microsoft lowered the price of the 20GB Xbox 360 from $349 to $299.

Now, writes Kuchera, courtesy of his source, "the mole," Microsoft is planning to roll out new pricing on the entire line of Xboxes. For a console with no hard drive, the price could be $199; for one with a 60GB hard drive, it could be $299; and the high-end model, known as the Elite, with a 160GB hard drive, could go for $399.

Microsoft said it does not comment on rumors.

If the report is true, however, Microsoft could be making an important move. According to many industry observers, the magic price point in video game machines is $200. Go below that, the theory goes, and you potentially open up your machine to the truly mass market.

Right now, the lowest-priced of the next-generation consoles is Nintendo's Wii, which runs $249. Sony's PlayStation 3 can be had for $399 for a model with a 40GB hard drive, and this fall it plans to introduce an 80GB model for that same $399 price.

If the Ars Technica report is true, then, Microsoft could be the first to break the magic $200 barrier and such a move could go a very long way to helping the company reach its declared commitment to winning the console wars.

If I hear from Microsoft with comment about this, dear readers, so will you.