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It seems that £44.99 is the suggested retail price (SRP) for Xbox 360 games. Microsoft today confirmed that the standard edition of its forthcoming title Perfect Dark Zero will sport the higher-than-normal price tag - effectively signalling its intention to hike up game prices for the start of the next generation.
Microsoft also confirmed today that the SRP of the Limited Edition two-disc version would cost £49.99.
A poll of retailers revealed that even the most competitive stores will be charging around £39.99 for standard Xbox 360 games - much more than gamers are currently paying.
Historically speaking, SRP on console games is about £5 more than you can expect to pay if you shop around. The full SRP on current generation console games is around £39.99, although £34.99 tends to be the most common launch price in-store. However, an aggressive summer price war recently drove prices down to around £29.99 - or even lower in some cases.
That's not happening with Xbox 360 though, at least not ahead of launch, with most retailers stocking the likes of Perfect Dark Zero (standard edition) and Kameo: Elements of Power for £39.99 - presumably representing the standard discount - and £44.99 in other cases.
Worryingly, a number of third-party titles cost even more. The same retailers asking for £39.99 for PD Zero and Kameo want £44.99 for Ubisoft's multiformat titles King Kong and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, while others are charging as much as £49.99. Likewise Call of Duty 2 and Need For Speed: Most Wanted.
In other words, you're going to be hard-pressed to buy an Xbox 360 game without spending £40, and probably £45 in many cases.
Hypothetically speaking, then, you might be faced with this choice: spend £29.99 or £34.99 on the Xbox version of a new multiformat game, like King Kong, or pay £49.99 to play it on Xbox 360. The difference? On Xbox 360 it'll probably contribute to your Gamerscore, and it'll probably have high definition video modes. The Xbox version would offer those too, of course, except European Xbox 1s don't allow users to access the high definition video options. YAY THE FUTURE.