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The current console war between Microsoft and Sony is barely half a year old, but conventional wisdom says that the PlayStation 4 is winning over the Xbox One pretty handily so far. But Microsoft seems determined to close the gap. During the company’s annual Build conference a few days ago, Microsoft’s Frank Savage publicly admitted that the company is working on ways to emulate Xbox 360 games on the next-gen console, reversing its earlier stance.

The news comes by way of a post on Kotaku Australia, which describes an exchange between Savage and a member of the audience who asked if there were plans for a 360 emulator to make its way to the Xbox One. Said Savage:

“There are, but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately. It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.”

This news, of course, can’t be fully understood until you think back to Sony’s own announcement of PlayStation Now, a game-streaming service that’s currently undergoing a closed beta test on PlayStation 3 systems. Presumably, when PlayStation Now is fully launched, it’ll give PS4 users the chance to play older PS3 games on their next-gen consoles via cloud streaming. Cloud gaming is an imperfect solution, but it holds lots of potential if Sony can get it done. And if Microsoft decides on its approach soon and can actually pull it off as well, the field between the two consoles will become much more level.

Well, that’s one way—the other way is price. When they both launched last November, Sony edged out Microsoft with a $399 price tag, which was much more attractive to a lot of gamers than Microsoft’s $499 price for the Xbox one. To correct that disparity, retailers have been offering discounts and bundles on Xbox One consoles, ending up making the thing cheaper than the PS4.

A post on DualShockers points out that a new bundle at Target makes the Xbox One cheaper than ever. For $450, customers can get a console, a free copy of Titanfall (which usually retails for $60) and a free year of Xbox LIVE Gold service (also $60). The discounted price appears once the bundle’s been added to your cart, but even at $499, this bundle is a steal—and still comes down below the PS4. For most gamers, the choice has been clear that the PS4 is the better deal—but now that the Xbox One is getting its price cut and there’s a must-have game out there, things are a little less sure.

That said, who’s buying a new console in April? Not too many people. The big pushes usually come in summer, when everyone’s out of school, or the holidays, for obvious reasons. It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, these cuts and bundles will have on the Xbox One’s fortunes in the months ahead. Will these prices ever go back up, or is this the new status quo? Will Microsoft go so far as to actually lower its suggested retail price permanently to get the edge on its biggest gaming rival?

[Sources: Kotaku Australia, DualShockers]

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