Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Microsoft Officially Unveils Family Version of Xbox 360 Game Console

Microsoft Corp. on Monday officially unveiled its long-awaited Xbox 360 game console tailored to novice gamers and families. The novelty does not feature any considerable hardware changes compared to the original Xbox 360 core version, but sports a rather unique bundle and comes at a price-point very similar to Nintendo Wii.

Xbox 360 Arcade console is the first Xbox 360 console to include five family-friendly games, a wireless controller, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connection to enable high-definition output if desired and 256MB of memory useful for storing games and entertainment content. The novelty does not feature a hard disk drive, but, just as the Xbox 360 core, it can be upgraded with a special HDD afterwards.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Arcade will cost $279 and will include five best-selling games: Pacman Championship Edition, Uno, Luxor 2, Boom Boom Rocket and Feeding Frenzy.

“As families gather together this holiday, it’s the perfect time to launch a new low-priced, high-value Xbox 360 that plays games, TV shows and music for everyone to enjoy. In addition to offering an incredible all-in-one package for families to get right into the fun, the Xbox 360 Arcade system features the industry-leading family settings, which allow parents to control what their kids are watching and playing – and we know how important that control is to families around the world,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing, interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.

Executives at Microsoft recently acknowledged that the company needs to attract casual gamers to the Xbox 360 platform to compete against Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 arcade seems to be one of the first tangible actions to fulfill the intention. Probably, at $279 the new console from Microsoft may seem as attractive as Nintendo Wii at $249, meaning that the software giant finally managed to match Wii in terms of pricing. However, another advantage that Wii has is unique motion-sensitive wireless game controller, something that Xbox 360 does not have. As a result, Microsoft will need to promote the obvious advantages of its latest gaming platform: technical excellence, realistic graphics and ability to control the content are the things that are not really important for arcade games and casual gamers.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine provides a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. The game console also features an HD DVD drive and other peripherals that should be acquired separately.

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