Microsoft acted to consolidate its lead over Sony in the current generation of games consoles as it cut the price of its top-end Xbox 360 on Thursday to counter a similar move last week by its Japanese rival.
The cuts come at the start of the busy autumn season, which usually accounts for nearly two-thirds of annual console purchases, and should enable the US software company to maintain its advantage over Sony in what has been a weak year for the industry, analysts said.
Microsoft has sold 30m Xbox 360s since 2005, while Sony has sold slightly less than 24m PlayStation 3 consoles, which were launched a year later. Both trail the Nintendo Wii, which has sold more than 50m globally.
"This is all about maintaining the momentum. [Xbox] is the only one that has been selling relatively well over the summer," said Van Baker, an analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm.