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US price cut for Xbox 360 HD DVD player

European gamers hard done by yet again

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US gamers will again be the first to benefit from a Microsoft retail strategy. The Seattle-based software behemoth today announced plans to reduce the US price of its Xbox 360 HD DVD player by $20 (£9/€14), but failed to mention any similar cut for its European gamers.

The price drop, announced at the Comic-Con event in San Diego, means the estimated retail price of the console’s add-on will now be $179 (£87/€130), effective from 1 August. Microsoft claims the Xbox 360 HD DVD player is now the cheapest high definition player available, following the reduction.

While the cut may scarcely amount to the price of a few pints in the UK, it could cause further frustration for gamers over this side of the Pond. European gamers have been forced to wait until 24 August to get their hands on the forthcoming all-black Xbox Elite, despite the fact it has been on US shelves since 29 April.

Microsoft also announced that it will extend Toshiba’s “Perfect Offer” for five free HD DVDs from a selection of 15 titles - previously exclusive to those purchasing Toshiba HD DVD players, to the Xbox 360 HD DVD player.

These two announcements may help increase the popularity of HD DVDs amongst consumers, strengthening the format’s standing in the ongoing HD DVD Vs Blu-ray high definition format war.

Earlier this month the HD DVD Promotion Group announced that Toshiba HD DVD players accounted for 74 per cent of European sales of next-gen optical disc players, although sales figures were not mentioned. However, the HD DVD promotion group did say that more than 500,000 HD DVD players and Xbox 360 drives have been sold worldwide.

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