Microsoft officially confirmed the new $299 price for the 20GB Xbox 360 game console at its annual press conference during the Electronic Entertainment Expo Business Summit.
While the $50 price cut from the previous $349 price was the worst-kept secret in the video game world, Microsoft said it will be available while supplies last.
Microsoft is following Sony's discontinuation of its 60GB PlayStation3. The new price for the Xbox 360 will be while supplies last, as Microsoft will be introducing a new 60GB 360 in early August, which will be available at the 20GB's former $349 price point.
However, Microsoft will not discontinue the other Xbox 360 models — notably the $279 version, which is available sans hard drive, or the $449 120GB Elite version. Additionally this new price will only be for the North American market, and no price changes have been announced for Europe or Asia.
Microsoft also announced its continuing partnership with Netflix, the online movie-rental service. Today the companies unveiled an exclusive partnership that will give Xbox 360 owners the ability to stream movies and TV series from Netflix via the console. The movie-watching service will be available to Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers, at no additional cost.
Beside the availability of content from Netflix, Microsoft will continue to push its own Xbox Live Video Store, which will include TV shows and movies from NBC Universal, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sci Fi Channel and USA Network domestically, and Constantin and MGM internationally.
Among the biggest game news coming out of E3 is that the highly popular and ground-breaking Final Fantasy series will be released for the Microsoft platform. Final Fantasy XIII from Square Enix is currently in development for the 360, and while a date was not given, the company confirmed today that it would arrive on the same day and date as the PlayStation3 edition. This will be just the first of several Square Enix games that will make their way to the 360 over the next three years. These will include the exclusive Star Ocean: The Last Hope and the timed exclusive The Last Remnant.