Highly-placed UK sources have revealed that the Xbox 360 is set to launch in Europe on November 25th, with the US launch preceding a few days earlier - and the price tag may be as high as UKP 299.
Under conditions of strict anonymity, several key sources in the UK games industry confirmed that the official announcement of the European date will be made by Microsoft to its trade partners on the 15th of this month, two days before a public announcement at Game Convention in Leipzig.
While they were confident of the dates being mooted, the price of the system remains less certain - with our sources indicating that Microsoft itself may not have made up its mind on the matter as yet.
"The original plan was UKP 249, but now that Sony is talking about the PS3 being expensive, UKP 299 is looking more likely," according to one source - although it was admitted that this pricing is a "best guess" based on information from Microsoft, not an official figure by any means.
Even allowing for the higher tax rates here in Europe, a UKP 299 price point would directly translate to $500 (including tax) in the US, which is significantly higher than is currently anticipated by most market watchers - among whom the general consensus is that the system will launch at $300, suggesting a UK price point of under UKP 200.
One area of pricing which our independent sources were more certain of was the pricing of software, with a number of Xbox 360 titles likely to hit shelves at around UKP 44.99 - a price premium over current generation software which Microsoft is said to be unhappy with, but which has been driven by demands from third party publishers.
Microsoft this afternoon declined to comment on the reports, saying simply that "we have nothing to announce at this time."
Check back soon for the official announcement.
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