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MS confirms new wave of Euro Xbox 360 price cuts, £129/€179 Arcades [update]


Congratulations fellow Europeans! Beginning this Friday you'll be joining your North American and receive your very own Xbox 360 price cut. Just as Woolworths predicted, huzzah!

Microsoft just confirmed that this Friday, September 19th, the Xbox 360 will see a significant price reduction in all European countries, dropping prices for Xbox 360 Arcades to £129 (€179), 60GB Pros to £169 (€239) and 120GB Elites to £229 (€299). A reduction from the previous £159 (€199), £199 (€269) and £259 (€369) pricing. We're sure this new (and much speculated) price cut will help spur 360 sales in Europe and keep team Microsoft competitive with the PS3 going into the holidays. Again, congrats Europe ... you can haz price cut!

Psst, our Dutch friends get an extra console discount through a special rebate program. Learn more about it here.

Update: Press release after the break.

Continue reading MS confirms new wave of Euro Xbox 360 price cuts, £129/€179 Arcades [update]

Midway: Xbox 360 is 'lagging behind' in Europe


Midway, being the first to offer constructive criticism (or just plain old criticism), expressed some concerns regarding Microsoft's Xbox 360 performance in Europe, saying that the feel the console is "lagging behind" its competitors.

In an interview during the Leipzig Games Convention, Midway Vice President Martin Spiess talked with GamesIndustry.biz about Midway's performance in Europe and attributes some of their slow growth due to Microsoft's sluggish performance. "Sony has become very strong, Nintendo has become very strong, but the Microsoft market in certain territories is concerning" Spiess admitted, saying that "Microsoft is lagging behind." Ouch! Someone better revoke Spiess' Xbox 360 Cool Kids Club membership ASAP. The first rule of Xbox 360 Cool Kids Club is that we don't blame our company's problems on the 360. Shame!

60GB HDD + headset + 3 months Live = 79 Euros

Word coming from the Leipzig Games Convention is that Microsoft has an Xbox 360 60GB HDD bundle planned for Europe and, relatively speaking, it's pretty decently priced.

A Microsoft produced flyer is making the internet rounds that was supposedly sent to Xbox Live Gold members in Germany. The flyer informs us of a new Xbox 360 Live 60GB HDD Starter Pack will release in November and will include the hard drive itself, a wired headset and three months of Xbox Live all for 79 Euros. Not too bad, seeing that a standalone 120GB HDD costs a whopping 129 Euros already. We aren't certain if this is an European exclusive offer or if it'll be sold in North America as well, but we'd totally welcome a cheaper 60GB HDD bundle. With open arms.

[Thanks, Sjeltur]

Europe accounts for less than a quarter of Live, language barriers to blame

Talking to Edge magazine, Vice President of Xbox Europe Chris Lewis discussed European Xbox Live memberships admitting that Europe accounts for "less than a quarter" of all Xbox Live subscribers worldwide. "We don't normally break out the European element of our Live membership," Lewis continued, "I will say to you as a percentage of that overall total, it's just less than a quarter. And I'll tell you also that a large part of that is in the UK."

So, where are all the Xbox Live Europeans at and why aren't they gaming on Live? The answer: stupid language barriers. The French, Spanish, German and other non-English speaking gamers of the world for the most part don't feel Xbox Live is a rich enough service to warrant a subscription. And it's sad too. Knowing that, one could also guesstimate that non-English speaking Europeans don't read X3F either. How sad and lonely their Xbox 360 gaming existence must be ...

Rumor: Europe to get 60GB 360s, 20GB price cut

Prior to E3, when Microsoft announced the liquidation price cutting of the Xbox 360 20GB HDD models and the introduction of the 60GB HDD console, they made it clear that the changes would only affect North American territories. But now, thanks to UK retailer Play.com's £30.00 Xbox 360 20GB price cut, rumors are swirling that Microsoft will be making the same price cut and 60GB Xbox 360 announcements for European territories. An announcement that is speculated to happen during the Leipzig Game Convention this August.

Even though MS has already addressed this European price cut rumor saying that the Play.com's pricing has "nothing to do with us," we're optimistic our European fanboys will join in on the North American console restructuring. Because receiving cheaper 20GB HDD models and some newer 60GB HDD Xbox 360s is way, way cool.

360 breaks 5 million, nabs lead in Europe, says MS


Remember last month when Sony claimed that the PS3 had surpassed the Xbox 360 in Europe? The battle of the numbers continues today as European VP of strategic marketing for interactive entertainment at Microsoft EMEA (say that three times fast) David Gosen let it be known that the Xbox 360 has sold more than 5 million units in Europe, "well over" 5 million in fact. He also puts a stop to Sony's shenanigans -- assuming his word is better than Sony's anyway -- by noting that the Xbox 360 is actually "at least, if not more than, three quarters of a million ahead of PS3." Gosen also takes issue with analysts' claims that 360 sales have slowed in Europe saying, "If we look at the momentum in the business in the last few months, the trajectory has changed significantly," adding that analysts should "check their numbers."

Ooh, did you hear that analysts? Burn!

GTAIV boosts UK 360 sales over PS3


Having already announced that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV was the week one sales winner in the UK, Chart-Track has now told Eurogamer that the game also heavily boosted sales of the Xbox 360 console. Since Grand Theft Auto IV's launch last month, sales of the Xbox 360 are up 18% over the Playstation 3 in the UK. ChartTrack also notes that sales of the Xbox 360 have increased 47% over the month prior to GTAIV's launch, whereas PS3 sales have seen an increase of only 8%. Furthermore, a full 57% of all copies of GTAIV sold in the UK were sold for the Xbox 360, leaving 43% for the Playstation 3.

It's not all sunshine and roses for the Xbox 360 though, as the Playstation 3 still holds the lead in overall UK sales for 2008 thus far. As it stands, there still remains a 10% gap between the consoles, though it's worth noting that the gap stood at 20% before the launch of GTAIV.

[Via Joystiq]

Update: Ahem, the numbers are for the UK, not all of Europe.

Sony: European PS3 sales surpass 360's

The Sony PR machine just got its oil changed, is fully lubed and ready to fight. We know this because at their recent Playstation Day press event (which, we must admit, did bring some amount of good) we learn that Playstation 3 sales in Europe have surpassed Xbox 360 sales in the region ... or so says Sony. Seeing that Sony is a tad bit bias with their calculations (and we don't even get a pretty bar chart or anything), we can't be sure how much validity there is to their European PS3 number touting. But one thing we can be sure of is that Europe is a cut-throat console market where Microsoft and Sony are currently fighting to the death. Now let's wait and see if MS's PR machine is equally primed for battle ...

Microsoft claims European sales have doubled


According to Microsoft, the recent European price drop has done what it was intended to do, doubling hardware sales since its inception. Chris Lewis, Vice President of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business Europe had some PR speak for the press: "Xbox 360 is truly the next-generation console of choice among consumers, and today's numbers are proof that we are delivering on our commitment to achieve critical mass in Europe." Microsoft also claims that they own 42% of next-gen revenue, a fact they've flaunted before. With Europe being a bit more traditionally Sony and Nintendo's territory let's hope this is more than just PR exaggeration.

Rock Band Euro price won't 'magically' drop


In a post on the official Rock Band forums Harmonix product development manager Greg LoPiccolo told gamers that wishing the European price of Rock Band would drop won't do any good. "We're not gouging you, primarily because doing so doesn't serve our interests," LoPiccolo said. "You may conclude that Rock Band isn't worth the price charged, and that is your prerogative. But it's not magically going to get cheaper because you wish it to be so."

LoPiccolo's comments come days after EA and Harmonix announced plans to release Rock Band exclusively on the Xbox 360 on May 23 in Europe, with other console versions hitting in the summer, at a shocking $360 US for the game and the three main peripherals (game sold separately, Instrument Pack includes wired guitar, drum kit and microphone).

"We're not making a killing on Rock Band in Europe. We are incredibly sensitive to pricing issues. We are painfully aware that the higher the price we charge, the less copies we'll sell." LoPiccolo went on to blame shipping costs throughout the region as a primary factor in the price of Rock Band, but did not detail how the pricing structure breaks down for legal reasons.

While the price point is still quite shocking, we're reminded of the delay Canadians saw when Rock Band released a month later than their American neighbors which was blamed for shipping and package localization reasons -- yet there was no change in price. Like what LoPiccolo says or not, his comments are the straightest answer we've seen regarding the issue. So, to our loyal European X3F Army members we ask, do the comments made by LoPiccolo change your mind regarding your May purchase plans?

European 360 price drop is the real deal


European fanboys rejoice! The rumors have come to fruition and the whole gamut of Xbox 360s is getting a price cut in Europe. Yes, wallets will be fatter and gamers will be happier, and maybe, just maybe, projections of PS3 dominance will falter. Without further ado, the price cuts -- which will go into effect this Friday -- per Major Nelson:
  • Xbox 360 Arcade – was €269.99 / £199.99 ($414) now €199.99 / £159.99 ($307)
  • Xbox 360 Pro - was: €349.99 / £249.99 ($536) now: €269.99 / £199.99 ($414)
  • Xbox 360 Elite - was: €449.99 / £299.99 ($691) now: €369.99 / £259.99 ($566)
So, it's almost a complete shift for every version of the Xbox 360, with the Pro costing what the Arcade used to cost and the Elite sitting only €20 / £10 higher than the old Pro cost. All it all, it's a pretty hefty cut (at least to these American eyes). What say you, Euro-fanboys? Is this price cut enough to energize 360 sales?

[Via Joystiq. Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Free MS points with Lost Odyssey pre-order

If you're a resident of the pristine lands of the UK and are a guaranteed purchaser of Lost Odyssey, then we have a deal for you. UK retailer HMV is offering 1000 Microsoft points for free to anyone who pre-orders Lost Odyssey before the game hits retailers this week. Free MS points that can be used on the sure to be released DLC in the months to come. This offer is not only fourteen times better than the United States' pre-order bonus, but our European friends also enjoy prettier packaging as well. You lucky monkeys.

[Thanks, Callum Lawrence]

Silver (not gold) get Beautiful Katamari demo

Yesterday, a new Beautiful Katamari demo released to Europe, New Zealand and Australia's XBLM (the same demo the US received back in August), but there seems to be a problem. Gold Live members don't have access to the demo, but silver members do. Oopsy.

This demo release goes in direct contrast to Microsoft's XBLM membership rule where silver subscribers get free XBLM downloads a week after gold subscribers. You know, since a gold subscription costs moola. But, we guess, Beautiful Katamari is all about the silver, snubbing the gold and does what it wants. Or someone in charge of the Marketplace flipped the wrong switch, thus locking out gold subscribers. See what you get when you pay for Xbox Live? Have you learned your lesson yet?

Rumor: European XBVM to get a huge content boost

European Xbox Live Video Marketplace connoisseurs have had to deal with a less than "content-rich" Marketplace since its launch, but rumor on the street is that there will be a significant increase in movie content soon.

According to an interview with Silicon Republic, Orla Sheridan (MS Ireland's Entertainment and Devices Division manager) went on record to say that they have "imminent" plans to increase Ireland's movie catalog from the current 30-40 to somewhere around 400 titles. Next-Gen contacted Microsoft UK about Sheridan's remarks and confirmed that there will be new movies releasing "in the coming weeks", but fell short of confirming Sheridan's talk of a massive wave of new Video Marketplace content releasing anytime soon.

So, we know that new movie rentals will be coming to Europe's XBVM in the next few weeks, but nobody is sure of how many or when the European Marketplace will catch up with the U.S.'s massive catalog. We can only hope Sheridan is right. Next on the agenda, making the rentals more affordable.

Video Marketplace now in Canada and Europe

As announced last week, the switch has just been flipped for the Xbox Live Video Marketplace to go live in both Europe and Canada. W00t to that! Canada, Ireland, France, Germany and the UK all have access to the Video Marketplace where Live subscribers will be able to purchase movie rentals and other Video Marketplace goodness. Currently, there is only a limited number of movies available and no television content, but we expect that to change in the near future. Though, we don't expect the Canadian pricing to change anytime soon ... ouch. Anyhoo, welcome fellow Canadian and European fanboys, the Video Marketplace water is warm and welcoming.

[Thanks, Jade]

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