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Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest developer of software, was the first company to announce the next-generation game console in November, 2005, but while the company’s Xbox 360 has already gained relative popularity, the launch of competing offerings from Nintendo and Sony may take some minds away from the game machine. In order to avoid this, Microsoft is preparing some surprises.

“I don’t want to reveal any plans at the moment because we want to keep a number of surprises up our sleeve. We will ensure we are good value and we’ll do that through having a variety of pricing on games, a variety of pricing on console offers,” said Richard Teversham, a marketing manager for Xbox Europe, in an interview with MCV UK publication.

Earlier rumours about possible price drops on the Xbox 360 game consoles emerged, however, no executives at Microsoft confirmed them and Mr. Teversham even ruled it out during the interview. Meanwhile, his colleague Robbie Bach said during a meeting with analysts on the 27th of July that he expects Xbox 360 platform to become profitable in 2007, which, considering that Microsoft loses money on every single hardware unit, means that the firm, at least, does not want to cut the pricing and enhance its losses.

While the claim about “a variety of pricing on console offers” may hint possible price drop (if not take into account the paragraph above – A.S.), the claim about “good value” may suggest that Microsoft will try to improve the bundles of its consoles by adding certain software and hardware additions to the existing , perhaps, by adding an “ultimate” one consisting of variety of additional software and hardware or, perhaps, even the long-discussed external HD DVD drive to battle Sony’s Blu-ray player of the PlayStation 3.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine will provide a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. Depending on the bundle, Microsoft Xbox 360 currently costs $299 or $399.

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