“Any day now” was right when the Brick reported a week ago that a press release would be coming soon from Microsoft announcing a release of the highly anticipated, upgraded Xbox 360. The new console will be called the Xbox 360 Elite and comes with some upgrades to both the feature set and the price.
In an attempt to further improve the overall appeal of the Xbox 360 Microsoft has upgraded the game console by increasing its hard drive capacity 6 fold bringing it to 120 gigabytes, as well as adding an HDMI video connection to send out high definition video content. The 360 Elite will also hold true to rumors by shipping with a black case, black wireless controllers and black Xbox Live headset.
The new 360 Elite will retail for $480 (up $80 from the 20 gigabyte version) and will be available for purchase on April 29th. For those who have already bought the Xbox 360 with the smaller drive, its not a total loss as an add-on 120GB drive can be purchased for $179.99. That’s more than double the increase in price but still less than getting a whole new console.
The increased hard drive capacity will allow the game console to hold a greater volume of high definition movies, TV shows and other media that can be downloaded from Xbox Live. For the additional $80, aside from the HDMI output and disk space, the Xbox 360 Elite also ships with a Xbox Live Silver Membership and teases you with a one-month subscription to a Live Gold membership.
Microsoft has also announced plans to bring high-definition movies to the Xbox Live Marketplace, which makes sense due to the new high definition output (unfortunately there is no add-on for this with existing Xbox 360 owners). The Xbox 360 came in second place behind the Nintendo Wii in sales for both January and February. It’s probably too late for March, but we’ll have to wait and see if Microsoft’s feature enhancements help improve their sales and bring their game console into the center of more home entertainment systems.