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Thursday, September 25, 2003
Microsoft: Xbox price to shadow PS2, not GameCube

The head of Microsoft Corp's Xbox game console business said on Thursday the company's main benchmark when it comes to pricing would remain Sony and not Nintendo.

The comments from Robbie Bach, Microsoft's chief Xbox officer, followed a price cut by Nintendo in the United States on its GameCube console to $99 from $149 in a move aimed at building momentum for the crucial holiday season.

The Nintendo price cut makes the GameCube $80 cheaper than the second-placed Xbox or Sony's market-leading PlayStation 2 (PS2), both of which start at $179.

While the GameCube has been stronger in Japan and Europe, in the United States it has settled into third place, with an installed base about 29 percent smaller than that of the Xbox.

Both Sony and Microsoft have announced special bundle packages for the holiday season that include free games -- offers that dashed widespread industry hopes the hardware makers would cut their prices.

Microsoft sees the Xbox as a strong competitor to the PS2 in the video game market, which he expects to double in size in the next 10 years.

Microsoft also introduced Yoshihiro Maruyama as general manager for the Xbox business in Japan. Maruyama joins Microsoft from the U.S. subsidiary of video game software publisher Square Enix Co Ltd .

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