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Friday, November 21, 2003
Microsoft slashes price of Xbox

In an attempt to expand its customer base and increase its gaming console market share, the software giant initiated a price war yesterday.

Microsoft said it will cut the retail price of Xbox by around 10 percent, from NT$6,600 to NT$5,980 each.

The world's biggest software company started to sell its Xbox game consoles in Taiwan last November and has sold about 350,000 of the machines as of July, according to data obtained from various local retailers.

Globally, Microsoft has sold over 9.4 million Xbox consoles including over 1 million in Asia, said Grace Chou, manager of Microsoft Taiwan's home and entertainment division. She refused to reveal the exact sales figures for Taiwan.

Microsoft wants to use the price cuts to gain on rival Sony Corp's PlayStation 2 (PS2) ahead of the Christmas shopping season. Last week, the company announced in Japan that it would slash the price of Xbox by 32 percent starting yesterday, after Sony Computer Entertainment Inc said earlier this month that it would cut the price for a PS2 by 21 percent.

Sony said it has no plans to join a price war in Taiwan.

As for Nintendo Corp, the Japanese company has already reduced the price of its GameCube machines from NT$5,980 to NT$4,980 each last month, and will not make further changes in a short period of time.

According to the company's statistics, Sony has sold about 250,000 PlayStations in Taiwan since 2000. But, with over 20 million bootlegged consoles and a huge amount of game software being sold since 1994, Sony still leads the market worldwide.

The price-cut strategy appears to have been effective in Europe. In April Microsoft cut Xbox prices in the European market and reported a 49 percent surge in sales in the UK, 46 percent growth in France and a 55 percent increase in Germany in May, the company said.

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