Retailers have told Eurogamer that Microsoft will increase the price of the Arcade Xbox 360 bundle to £159.99 (from £129.99) starting 1st September. The five XBLA games will no longer be included in the bundle, either.
ShopTo boss Igor Cipolletta received confirmation from Microsoft this morning, as did a corroborating independent retail chain source.
We're also told that Microsoft will bump the price of individual Xbox 360 accessories by one or two pounds. Our independent retail source said this is being done to counteract the poor pound-to-Euro currency exchange rate.
Furthermore, the email from Microsoft to retailers mentioned only Arcade and Elite bundles. This strengthens rumours that the Premium Xbox 360 bundle is being discontinued.
I think here are some key points to take from this:
The currency excuse is smoke and/or mirrors. If currency was the reason for this price change, then how come in the past when the currency situation was reversed, how come the UK did not receive any discounts? The price increase is simply because it is more profitable for Microsoft to charge more. That's fine, and certain not evil, but treating their customers like morons with PR speak bullshit about currency fluctuations helps no one.
I've never thought that the Core or Arcade system has been good value. I think it's a shame that there are 360s out their without hard drives, since developers can't assume that they are there, which is a significant step backwards from the original Xbox. I imagine that the value of having a hard drive, and the functionality it provides is worth way more than the difference in cost between the Arcade and the Pro to most people. If they are indeed removing the 60gb Pro console from the market, and the Elite stays at £229.99 RRP, then the 360 just got a lot worse value. I can't see how they could keep selling the 60gb alongside the Arcade, when its RRP is £169.99, £10 than the supposed new price for the Arcade (assuming retailers don't absorb the price difference entirely).
A 60gb pro console is £159.89 delivered right now. An excellent deal too.