Can freebies drive Xbox 360 and PS3 sales?

Microsoft tempts Xbox owners with free copy of Halo 3

If you've recently bought a games console, there's a good chance you plumped for an Xbox 360. Microsoft has been pushing out some nice price cuts recently in an effort to ensnare any budding gamers who didn't know which console to buy.

And it's now making a play for owners of original Xbox consoles in the US, by offering them a free copy of Halo 3 if they buy an Xbox 360 and subscribe to the Xbox Live Gold service.

Free Halo 3 with Xbox 360

"As a current paid Xbox Live member using an original Xbox console," Microsoft says, "you're more than ready for Halo 3, and here's a great reason to step up. Buy your Xbox 360 between November 21 and December 21, 2007, move your existing paid Xbox Live account to an Xbox Live Gold subscription and then register on this site, and we will send you a copy of Halo 3."

So is this the way to sell consoles in future? In the high definition war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, both sides have been giving away free HD DVD and BD movies in an effort to sell hardware. Still, we've never seen any real evidence to suggest that this tactic works on a large scale.

Value vs Freebies

In both cases, cheap retail prices seem to work better. Free software might be the deciding factor for fence-sitters, but for new customers, it's reasonable prices which clinch the deal.

The PS3 two weeks ago enjoyed a massive surge in the US after its price cut. The same happened with the Xbox 360 in the US . And the same story happened in the UK and Europe when both consoles were given price cuts here.

Would more free games be the deciding factor for you when buying a console? Or would you prefer them to just be cheaper? Let us know