Chris Nuttall Wii wish you a merry Xbox

Wii SantaCheap and cheerful may be the theme for holiday shopping this year, with consumers looking for low-priced technology that can raise their spirits with its entertainment value.

Nintendo’s $250 Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Arcade console are cases in point. Since the basic version of the Xbox 360 console was dropped to $199.99 in September, making it the cheapest of the next-generation ones, sales seem to have soared.

On Monday, Microsoft reported 360 sales had been 25 per cent higher on Black Friday than the previous year and claimed it had been outselling Sony’s PlayStation 3 by three-to-one.

Today, Microsoft said it had recorded its biggest ever month in Europe in November, with sales up 124 per cent on the previous year.

“Since the reduction … in September, bringing the entry-level price point for Xbox 360 down to €179.99/£129.99, consumers have responded enthusiastically to the Xbox 360 offering,” said Chris Lewis, regional vice president for the interactive business.

“In the current economic conditions, consumers are more cautious than ever and looking for more value for their entertainment spend.”

Sony would argue that its $399 PS3 represents better value given its bigger hard disk, built-in wi-fi and a Blu-ray drive. However, Sony offering its Blu-ray players for as low as $150 in the past week has weakened its case somewhat.