The gaming industry is in a slump. Sony's loaded their hopes for a rebound onto the back of the PS3 Slim, but what are Microsoft and Nintendo going to do? The Slim is selling out in the US, and there are even rumors of a 250 GB Slim under production. Both Nintendo and Microsoft are going to want to let some of the wind out of Sony's sails before the holiday season hits. But how?
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Microsoft may already have made their big move. They are rumored to be slashing the price of their Xbox 360 Elite down to $299. With the Slim out and PS3 prices down, the Elite is now the costliest system out there. There is evidence that Microsoft has been planning this cut since information about the Slim first leaked out back around E3. A price cut alone might actually be all Microsoft needs to do to continue beating Sony in sales.
The 360 is the only console that hasn't seen a steep decline in recent months. Its June numbers this year were actually slightly higher than they were back in 2008. Dropping prices on their Elite console and offering some holiday value packs could very well be enough to keep the Xbox steady until Project Natal arrives.
Nintendo, on the other hand, is going to need to do something fast. Wii sales dropped 45% in June, something needs to be done to stop the hemorrhaging. One option would be another price cut, perhaps down to $200 for the holiday season. The Wii is currently still the cheapest console, so it might behove Nintendo to offer some special packages, like Wii's bundled with peripherals for a special discount.
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The Xbox Elite price drop is probably going to happen at the very end of August, or in early September. If Nintendo makes a move, it won't be until well after that point. We'll probably see another big spate of announcements around November, when holiday shopping season begins. That might be when Sony drops the 250 GB Slim.