Sunday, July 20, 2008

Microsoft Unveils New Xbox 360 Model, Cuts Price on Another

As expected, Microsoft Corp. has released a new version of its Xbox 360 video game console with enlarged hard disk drive and also slashed the price of the previous-generation machine “while supplies last”. It is unclear whether the new version of the console features chips produced using thinner manufacturing technology and whether Microsoft plans another price-cut shortly.

The new model is Xbox 360 Pro 60GB, which officially only sports enlarged hard disk drive, however, based on unofficial information, the novelty may also be based on code-named Jasper design, which utilizes ATI Xenos graphics and memory controller hub (GMCH) made using 65nm process at TSMC as well as IBM Xenon central processing unit (CPU) produced at IBM’s 65nm nodes. The new system design is projected to consume less electricity, use less complex cooling systems and also produce less noise.

“We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers, and we’re giving it to them at no extra charge. No one device offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 can deliver, and now you’ll have three times the storage to manage all that great content,” said Albert Penello, Xbox director of product management at Microsoft.

Microsoft did not comment whether the new Xbox 360 Pro 60GB is powered by the new system design.

The Xbox 360 Pro 60GB will cost $349, whereas its predecessor, the Xbox 360 20GB, will cost $299, while supplies last. In addition, Microsoft will continue to sell Xbox 360 Arcade with 256MB flash drive and five arcade games for $279 as well as Xbox 360 Elite with 120GB hard drive for $449.

It is actually unclear whether the model with enlarged hard drive can spur interest towards the Xbox 360 among casual gamers, the category that buys Nintendo Wii, the most successful video game system of the current generation. Hardcore gamers have already acquired Xbox 360 and that market may not be truly large at this time already, therefore, it is crucial for Microsoft to attract different kinds of gamers.

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