Xbox 360 Price Increase – Official Comment from Microsoft

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johnpress.jpgOn Saturday, we posted up an article about a price increase for the Xbox 360 and it’s software that will come into effect in January 2009. Local gamers are fuming and everybody is cringing or complaining over the concept of paying a thousand Rand for triple A titles.

We got on the phone with Microsoft’s Product and Marketing Manager, John Press to get an official statement on this whole situation and we have come up with some answers. Some of the news is bad, some of it is mildly better than expected, although it is unfortunate that I can’t really say that there is anything good coming our way in the very near future.

Read more about our discussion with Microsoft, after the jump.

[ Image courtesy of CraigN.net ]

Ok, so onto our phone call with Microsoft.

When asked about the fact that South Africa seems to be the only country that is going to be experiencing the price hike, Mr. Press said that it is simply “not true”, stating that all smaller countries and emerging markets similar to South Africa are “in the same boat” as both them and the RSA are affected by the economic crisis more than larger countries due to the lack of investments into the country in these times of financial crisis.

It is then very possible that gamers from countries such as ours will be forking out more money on our favorite hobbies than those from larger countries such as the USA and the UK, who will probably remain unaffected.

He states that the price increase in South Africa is completely due to the current exchange rate of the Rand and that the pricing is fluctuating solely because of it’s weak state and that it is has not been set in motion to increase profits.

When asked if prices will come down in future (if the Rand becomes stronger again), he said “Absolutely” and also made a point that their prices always fall again when the currency increases in strength. Pricing is set for products over a certain period of time and if the Rand does strengthen, the prices will drop once the new pricing is put in place.

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So what about this idea of R999 triple A titles then? When asked, Mr. Press stated that we will not be seeing prices rise to as much as R999 but it looks like we can still expect it to be ” pretty close to the R899 mark”. While it is good news to hear that the games will not be as expensive as we have heard, it doesn’t exactly kick up a huge amount of excitement to know that games will still be sitting on the R900 mark.

Nintendo already jacked their prices in South Africa up to a ludicrous amount and it is suspiciously higher than one would expect. If what Mr. Press has said is true then Playstation 3 owners may do well to also prepare themselves for a rather unwelcome price increase in the very near future as well.

We sit in a situation at the moment where a lot of us want to buy now to avoid the higher prices but at the same time we will be buying into something that will then become significantly more expensive to enjoy once we have it.

We would like to hear our readers thoughts and comments on the statements from Microsoft as well as your opinions on how this is going to affect gaming for South Africans in 2009 so leave your comment below and let us know what you think.

Last Updated: December 9, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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