Before continuing, let us emphasize that, pending Microsoft confirmation, the information below is strictly rumor territory. However, we wouldn’t post it unless we had some good reasons for believing the info to be authentic, so here it is: the Core pack will be canceled, the Premium will drop to 299 euro, the black HDMI-supporting 360 will be launched this May, and finally Halo 3 will hit stores right before Christmas 2007. Too good to be true? Read on!
German site Xbox-Archiv, known from before to have some good sources inside MS and be quite reliable on rumormongering, posted an article today on a bunch of things that should please most Xbox fanboys. First up, they investigated a bit on why German megastores MediaMarkt and Saturn are all of a sudden selling the Xbox 360 Premium pack at 299 euro. While wholesale price is still at around 350 euro, the included games can also be sold separately. Combined with gross purchase discounts awarded for stocking lots of Xbox 360 games besides the consoles, the total wholesale price easily drops below 300, resulting in many if not all retailers now being able to offer the Premium pack at 299 euro and still make a modest profit. Even if the new price doesn’t become official, who cares if all retailers use it?
So where does that leave the 299 euro Tard Pack, also sold under the name of Core pack? Retailers that were contacted suggested that their inside information states that the HD-less crap edition is indeed end-of-life, and will only be around for a few more months until permanent cancellation. Although noone will be really regretting Microsoft finally burying the rather unfortunate Core SKU, it does leave a lot of people out there in the cold without harddisks, and it eliminates the element of choice that people had when there were 2 SKUs to choose from.
Codename Zephyr could be with us in a matter of months
Or does it? The rumors of black 360s and HDMI-capable machines have been around for quite a while now. Xbox-Archiv states, Babelfished for your Engrish pleasure:
From reliable sources we experienced now that Microsoft plans release of a new Xbox 360 version in May 2007. The new Xbox 360 will that already admits black model to be, which has an HDMI exit and a larger non removable disk (120 GB). The price of the new Xbox 360 will lie between €350 and €450, an exact product name is not present, the internal code name Zephyr is rather improbable as sales designation.
(editor’s note: Babelfish translates ‘festplatter’ as ‘non removable disk’, but it should just read ‘hard disk’. there’s no indication that it’s non-detachable, nor would there be reason to)
For those unable to read proper Engrish, or German for all that matters, the summary is that a new black 360 with 120GB HD and HDMI output will hit the stores for some 400-odd euros in May this year.
Closing off the list of rumors, Xbox-Archiv also mentions that the third installment in the Xbox killer franchise pur sang, Halo 3, will definitely hit stores in November this year. Not really a big surprise, since this allows them to make the most of this year’s Holiday sales not unlike Gears of War that ‘emerged’ last November for good reason.
Again we must emphasize that all the stuff above is strictly rumor, until Microsoft officially confirms it or gives us the usual “Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation” which usually means it’s true. However, we at Xboxic also have some deep throats in the Redmond Giant’s ranks, who suggested the Xbox team has some tricks up its sleeve for the next week, with the impending European release of arch rival PlayStation 3 on March 23rd. Putting A and B together we wouldn’t at all be surprised if an Xbox 360 pricedrop was officially announced somewhere this month, and officially making the PS3 100% more expensive rather than the current 50% is sure to get some managers at Sony HQ worried. Still, we can’t emphasize enough that all the information above is officially unconfirmed and might turn out bogus or get postponed if required.