Microsoft to slash Xbox 360 price in Japan-Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp MSFT.O will slash the price of its Xbox 360 game console in Japan by about 30 percent, below Nintendo Co's 7974.OS Wii and Sony Corp's 6758.T PlayStation 3 in a bid to boost market share, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

A model stands at Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 display at the Tokyo Game Show in Chiba, east of Tokyo September 20, 2007. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Microsoft has been struggling to stir up demand for its Xbox 360 in Japan.

Microsoft will lower the price of the Xbox 360 Arcade model by 8,000 yen ($73.92) to 19,800 yen, the Nikkei said. The Arcade does not come equipped with a hard drive and is the least expensive of the three Xbox 360 models, the Nikkei said.

The new price will make that model cheaper than Nintendo’s Wii, which sells for about 25,000 yen, and the PlayStation 3, which sells for 39,800 yen.

The company will also reduce the price of two higher models with hard drives by 5,000-8,000 yen, the paper said.

Microsoft Xbox spokeswoman Kazumi Ishiyama in Japan declined to comment on the Nikkei report. The company is scheduled to hold a briefing on the Xbox 360 in the Japanese market at 3:00 p.m. (2:00 a.m. EDT) on Monday.

The Xbox 360 has lagged its Japanese rivals on their home turf, with 684,695 units sold so far in Japan against Wii’s 6.67 million and PS3’s 2.32 million, according to game magazine publisher Enterbrain.

The Xbox 360, however, beat the PS3 in Japan weekly sales for the first time in the week ended August 10, on robust demand for Namco Bandai Holdings' 7832.T recent "Tales of Vesperia" role-playing game.

Microsoft recently cut the price of its best-selling Xbox 360 Pro model game console with a 20 gigabyte hard drive to $299 from $349 in the United States.

Strong global sales of Wii led Nintendo to revise up its earnings forecasts for the six months to September and full year to March 2009 on Friday.

Reporting by Nathan Layne and Sachi Izumi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs