updated 08:55 am EST, Mon February 4, 2008
Xbox 360 Arcade in Japan
Microsoft on Monday morning said it would release the Xbox 360 Arcade in Japan, marking the first appearance of the budget console in the country versus the more expensive but hard drive-equipped Xbox 360 Pro. Like the American version, the Arcade trims costs both by switching to a 256MB memory card from a 20GB hard drive as well as shipping with less expensive components, such as a wired gamepad without an Xbox Live headset. In exchange, the Arcade's removable card comes with five Xbox Live Arcade games preloaded to get casual users started.
The Arcade version of the system should be available on March 6th and will sell for the equivalent of $260 in Japan, well under the $325 demanded for the Pro. This makes the Japanese Arcade model the least-expensive Xbox in the world and is widely understood as an attempt to improve sales for the Xbox 360 platform as a whole, which has often sold poorly in Japan versus the country's native Nintendo and Sony consoles. The Japanese 40GB PlayStation 3 costs $341 but has typically outsold the Xbox 360, in part due to a wider range of games targeted at a Japanese audience as well as a Blu-ray drive.