Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Xbox One price, new Xbox 360 hardware revision, revealed at E3

E3 kicked off on Monday, sadly the same day as WWDC 2013 kicked off, meaning that tech writers were distracted away from it and to Apple's keynote. Still some significant things were announced on Monday, including Xbox news.

For one thing (not a pun on the Xbox One, although it could be), Microsoft announced yet another a hardware revision for the Xbox 360 console. It makes sense, as as at last month's Xbox One unveiling, the Redmond, Wash.-based company teased that it would be making some major Xbox 360-related announcements at E3.

The new hardware revision of the Xbox 360 is based on the Xbox One's design. It was made available immediately in the U.S.

The new revision of the 360 is smaller -- and quieter -- than prior hardware iterations. The new Xbox 360 features a split glossy / matte design which resembles nothing so much as its next-gen successor, the One.

The power button has also been shrunken significantly -- perhaps it will make the "red ring of death" less obvious (just kidding, Microsoft). It has been placed right next to the optical disc tray eject button.

Despite the fact that the One is coming later this year, Microsoft was clear to reassure buyers that it is committed to maintaining support for the 360 in the months and even years ahead with "hundreds" of upcoming game releases.

In addition, Microsoft said that it is moving away from its Microsoft Points virtual currency for purchasing games and other items on Xbox Live and to real money. Everything will be priced in an end user's local currency. In addition, and more in line with other social networks, Xbox Live members will no longer be limited to 100 friends, as they are now.

Microsoft is also rolling out a new program called Xbox Live Gold Sharing that will let anyone in a house use the Gold benefits of another member of the household even if that person isn’t logged in.

Xbox Live Gold subscribers will also get another perk: Microsoft will start offering two free games a month to them. The first two games to be available for free will be Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3.

Finally, the big news for those waiting for the Xbox One. One important piece of information was missing from Microsoft's Xbox One announcement last month: the console's price. That was remedied on Monday: The Xbox One will sell for $499 in the U.S., 499 euros in Europe, and £429 in the U.K. when it launches this November.

The console will be rolling out to 21 countries in all.

No comments: