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Microsoft slashes prices for Xbox 360 in Asian markets except India

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The joy Of Wow
If the game industry were a game of Risk, Microsoft would be moving its pieces towards Asia. The company has announced today a bevy of Xbox 360 price cuts in Asian regions in the hopes of securing more ground on the global gaming front.

Cuts range from 5 percent to 20 percent in four Asian markets: Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. The Premium Xbox 360 SKU was cut by 19.5 percent in Singapore to SGD499 ($366), 17 percent to TW$10,360 ($341) in Taiwan, 10.7 percent to HK$2,499 ($321) in Hong Kong, and 5.1 percent to W369,000 ($369) in South Kore. Additionally, the Arcade Xbox 360 SKU was cut by 13.1 percent to SGD399 ($293) and the Elite Xbox 360 SKU was cut by 12.5 percent to SGD699 ($513).

"This price drop is part of Microsoft's ongoing strategy to bring Xbox's high-definition gaming and entertainment experience to an even wider user base," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement. India, the fifth market included in Microsoft's Asia install base, will not yet be receiving a price cut. "If and when price adjustments in other regions make sense, we will be sure to keep you informed, but we have nothing to announce at this time," said the company to the Wall Street Journal (subscription).

Despite stiff competition from Sony's increasingly-popular PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's unstoppable Wii, Microsoft reported revenue increases, including a 68 percent increase in its entertainment and devices division for the quarter ending March 31. The company says that over 19 million Xbox 360 units have been sold worldwide.

However, the NPD numbers don't paint as rosy a picture. Barely edging out the PlayStation 3 in sales last night and outpaced by the PlayStation Portable, the Xbox 360 wasn't selling up quite the storm that it has been in previous months. The over-stock of the Xbox 360 was spun by the company's PR as preparation for Grand Theft Auto IV.

With the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV today, though, Microsoft is poised to gain market share. Grand Theft Auto IV marks one of the most significant releases on the Xbox 360 this year, and it's likely that Microsoft benefit greatly. Exclusive content procured by the company in a deal worth $50 million makes the Xbox 360 version more attractive to those with both systems and those who have yet to pick up a system at all. When combined with recent price drops in the European and Canadian markets, Microsoft is in a good position to pick up some momentum. If sales continue to slow, though, another price drop may be a necessity to keep pace with the strong line-up of software due for the PlayStation 3 during the remainder of 2008.

The Xbox 360 still has plenty of fight in it, but whether or not that fight will be as fruitful in the Asian markets as it is in Western markets is another question altogether. Asia is an increasingly-important market with a significant potential user base, but Western games won't necessarily lead Microsoft to victory there—it's a lesson Microsoft learned from its struggles in Japan
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