As ever with Microsoft rumours, not a few days after they surface, some official confirmation surfaces. Latest on the bill: price cuts for Europe which, for the slow among you, means us British types too.
Microsoft is suggesting the Arcade should now retail for £159.99, with the Premium console coming in at £199.99 and the Elite at £259.99. The word on the street , though, is that some stores may undercut Microsoft's MSRPs and the Arcade could fall below £150, making it £30-odd cheaper than Nintendo's Wii - and that's assuming you can find the latter in stock.
Meanwhile the 120GB Elite console now manages to undercut Sony's 40GB PlayStation 3 by a similar margin, although the PS3 does have Blu-ray to its credit as well as the useful ability to upgrade the storage capacity - a niche but useful benefit.
No information is given about the suggestion that the SKU line-up is set to change, specifically whether the Premium is set to see a capacity increase as we reported recently. Price cuts this close to rumours of new console versions generally do bode well though, so it's worth keeping any eye, or an ear or two, on the situation. Personally, I don't see Microsoft integrating a Blu-ray drive into the console, but an extra-Elite bundle with an external drive and a large capacity hard-drive doesn't seem entirely unthinkable.
Regardless, Microsoft is now not only able to boast superior (visual) quality games than Nintendo's Wii, but also a lower price. Meanwhile Sony has a base spec console twice the price of Microsoft's; yes the PlayStation 3 is fuller featured, but for those after just a games console, it'll be a diamond-hard sell.