With rival Sony expected to slash the price of its PS3, Microsoft has responded by announcing its plans to... raise the price of the Arcade 360 in the UK? What?
Retailers across the pond in the United Kingdom have informed Eurogamer that Microsoft will be raising the price of the Arcade Xbox 360 to £159.99 (from £129.99) at the beginning of next month. 360 peripherals and accessories will likewise see a price increase of a few pounds, ostensibly to combat the poor pound-to-Euro exchange rate.
Tellingly, Microsoft's email to retailers reportedly only mentions the Arcade and Elite versions - lending support to the rumors that the Redmond-based computer giant will be discontinuing the 360 Pro (the "standard" Xbox 360, so to speak).
It's a bit boggling, to be honest. With all the hubbub over predicted price cuts for Sony's PS3 (possibly accompanying the reveal of the PS3 Slim) and Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite, it's surprising to see MS hiking the price of the console, especially in this craptacular economy. On the other hand, if Microsoft plans on adding stuff to the Arcade bundle - say, a larger hard drive - it might make a bit more sense, giving consumers a more complete package than just the Arcade, for a lower price than the Elite (or the PS3, for that matter).
It's an interesting development in the price-cut-war, and not really one I'd foreseen. We'll likely learn more about the price situation for the major console players at Gamescom later this week.