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Xbox 360 price drops now official

Microsoft confirms price cuts for all U.S. versions of the Xbox 360 console.

Microsoft Xbox 360
Xbox 360: now cheaper than ever. Microsoft

After weeks of credible rumors, Microsoft finally made it official: the Xbox 360 will be cheaper as of August 8. The new price points are as follows:

  • Xbox 360 Core: The cheapest 360 drops just $20, to $280. But since it still doesn't come with a hard drive--which will cost you at least $100--you're much better stepping up to the Premium version (see below).
  • Xbox 360 Premium: The sweet spot in the Xbox 360 lineup drops $50, to $350. If you don't need HDMI output and you're not planning on downloading a lot of videos, this is the ideal version of the 360.
  • Xbox 360 Elite: The flagship 360 version drops $30, to $450. It adds HDMI output, a larger 120GB hard drive, and it's finished in black (unlike its bone-white underlings).

In addition, Microsoft confirmed the details of the Halo 3 Special Edition Console announced at last month's E3. Available in September for $400, it's basically a green version of the Premium model (20GB hard drive, wireless controller, Xbox Live headset, Play & Charge Kit) that also supports HDMI output. But Halo 3 isn't included in the box--you'll need to purchase Master Chief's latest adventure separately when it hits stores on September 25.

For now, these pricing changes are only applicable in the U.S. The cuts come in advance of some hotly anticipated games for the late summer and fall, including Madden 08, Bioshock, Halo 3, and Mass Effect (the latter three being console exclusives to the 360). Simultaneously, Microsoft is on the defensive regarding continued reliability problems and repair snafus with its gaming hardware.