Although denying it at the time of the US price cut, Microsoft has announced that it is cutting the price of the Xbox 360 in the UK.

Coinciding with launch of the company's new updated console - the 360 Elite, from the end of the week (Friday 24 August) the price of the console will be dropped by £30 for the premium console package to £249.99 including a 20GB hard drive and £20 for the core unit to £179.99.

The price drop means that the Xbox 360 is now the same price as the Nintendo Wii in the UK.

The surprise news comes even though earlier this month Microsoft insisted that they would not be dropping the Xbox 360's price points.

"We're very happy with where were at the moment and have no plans to make any changes at this time", was the exact official line from Microsoft, following news of a price cut in the States.

The Xbox 360 Elite will carry an estimated retail price of £299.99 when it launches in the UK this Friday, 24th August.

The new black console comes with a 120GB hard drive, enabling consumers to store huge quantities of content downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace as well as their own music.

Following Sony and the PS3, the new console will include a HDMI port so gamers can connect it to a HD-Ready TV.