UPDATE: Microsoft exits gaming peripherals market

Microsoft will exit the gaming peripherals market for all gaming products outside of its X-Box games system.

The software giant has confirmed that its gaming peripherals bearing the Sidewinder brand - such as joysticks, gamepads and racing wheels, have been pulled from Microsoft’s catalogues.

"This is an area we had been monitoring for a while," product marketing manager for Microsoft Australia's home and entertainment division, Cynthia Kouvatas, said. "Worldwide, the market for joysticks and gamepads has been in decline."

The vendor has said it will continue to market peripherals for its X-Box gaming system, and also general PC peripherals such as keyboards and mice.

Kouvatas said the axing of the Sidewinder brand did not mean that Microsoft was pulling out of the PC gaming platform altogether, a platform that to some degree competed with Microsoft's X-Box. This was because Microsoft still made a good profit from the publishing and marketing of PC games software.

"We are still very committed to the PC game platform," she said. "And many of our most popular titles are actually played with keyboards and mice."

Microsoft Australia claims to have notified its distributors of the change and "is in the process" of notifying resellers.

Microsoft has also set significant price decreases for the Sidewinder products over the July period in an attempt to clear out remaining lines.

They vary from 10 to 45 per cent, depending on the product.

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