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Xbox 360 Elite dropping to $299 (finally)?

There might be a Labor Day surprise in store for Elite owners-to-be.

The end of the Xbox 360 Pro is nigh. Kotaku

Treat this right now as very likely, but still a rumor--a photo of a catalog page posted to Kotaku shows the 120GB hard drive-and-HDMI Xbox 360 Elite going for $299. The Meijer catalog (a Midwest store chain) in question is slated for August 30, which would mean a nice holiday surprise for future Xbox 360 buyers.

Other rumors have it that the price-dropped Elite and the bare-bones, hard-drive-free Arcade system will be the only 360s left on the market. It's a move that makes sense, since 120GB is not exactly a luxurious amount of storage space anymore, and is far more suitable for the mainstream than a fine-in-2005-but-now-piddling 20GB.

The 360 wasn't the system that most needed a price drop, after all. But then again, Sony might be following close behind with a cheaper (and redesigned) counterpunch of their own.

This leaves the Xbox 360 Elite at a price that's only $50 more than a Wii. And, for that price, you get a system that streams Netflix, plays DVDs, has robust online gameplay, and has far more storage than Nintendo's white box (even adding in a mountain of SD cards).

While we have absolutely no problem with getting more Xbox 360 for less, this raises a rather sharp sticking point with the prices of Microsoft's proprietary Xbox hard drives. An impassioned rant from Gizmodo accurately and appropriately skewers the currently ludicrous $160 retail cost of the 120GB hard drive. When half a terabyte can be had for the same--and when Microsoft, after all, wants us to buy more downloads than ever before--this hardly seems logical. Then again, maybe hard drive price drops/capacity increases are also on the horizon. In fact, wouldn't that be expected? If 120GB is the mainstream, there has to be a larger capacity to upgrade to.

Or, even better: Wi-Fi built in, and a slimmer, more reliable 360. How about that?

(via Kotaku)