So Let’s Talk About the New Xbox

The E3 Expo is happening this week. That means excitement, adventure and really wild things. Microsoft kicked things off as usual with an impressive press event, and ended with a giant announcement. There’s a new Xbox 360 model, and it’s shipping now.

How cool is that? Some folks can pull it off and others can’t. Sega couldn’t, obviously. When that company did the whole “and Saturns are on the store shelves now” bit at their press conference in 1995, it didn’t really pan out too well. Part of that, of course, was the fact that the Saturn was an all new system. The other part was almost certainly the price. Microsoft’s got both of those points taken care of.

The new Xbox 360 – which we’ll just call the 360 Slim for now – got announced, priced and dated at the end of the Microsoft press conference. The price is fantastic. At $299, it’s no more expensive than the current Elite models, but it can do a lot more. We can expect to see them on store shelves as soon as Friday. That’s a very strong move indeed.

So now that we’ve covered pricing and availability, let’s talk a little bit about the changes.

If you’re a fan of watching DVDs on your 360, you’ll be glad to know that the new system is “whisper quiet.” I sure am. The current optical drive and fans are a constant distraction .It’ll be nice to be rid of them.

There’s a bigger hard drive in the 360 Slim. It’s a full 250GB, which should be more than enough for your games in addition to whatever music and movies you plan on adding. One downside is that old and new hard drives aren’t compatible. That might not matter to most, but some people will find the change frustrating. One thing that I’ll definitely find frustrating is that old memory units will apparently not be compatible with the new system.

Microsoft has also added built-in WiFi to their new system. As a nice bonus, it’s 802.11n, unlike the 802.11g standard of the system’s early wireless adapters or the competing PS3’s built-in wireless.

Oh, and did I mention how utterly sexy it is? The new 360 looks sleek and slim and futuristic.

So there’s some downside, but there’s a lot of upside, and at a very reasonable price. Hey, if you don’t like it, the old models should all be getting a $50 or so price cut when the new ones hit store shelves.

But there’s one big question: What is Sony going to do to top this? “Move” won’t be enough to get the core audience excited, and there’s no chance of a new PS3. The biggest rumors surrounding the company over the last few days are that of a PSP2 (which could be a very popular announcement) and a paid PlayStation Network (which would not).

What’s Nintendo going to do? The same thing they always do. Trot out sales numbers, show games that look awful, and then show one thing that gives everyone hope. The 3DS has a lot of potential, but it’s ‘Zelda’ that’s really exciting. If they show it, anyway.


  1. Nicholas

    I am pretty excited about this. I was thinking about buying a new Xbox with HDMI to replace my broken (non HDMI) model. I’m glad I waited… Transformers, NCAA Football, Lego Harry Potter here I come!!!

  2. Wish this had come out about two years ago – My biggest complaint with my XBox is that its White. Looks so out of place in the A/V rack. The new one looks like my PS3!

  3. Jane Morgan

    They should have priced the 360 Slim at $199.

    Then price Kinect at $99, and include Sports and Adventures and Joyride and Your Shape, all four in the box free. And sell all other Kinect games at $19.99. Then they might have a shot at making it a Wii killer. As is, it feels like they’re trying to price themselves out of the casual market.

    What happens when they bring out the XBOX 720 in 2012? Are they going to build Kinect 2? Or use the same camera, limit Kinect games to the specs of 360 games, for backward compatibility?

    I predict Kinect dies as fast as HD DVD. 2 years.

    • I would have loved to see the slim at $199, but I doubt they could have pulled that off. Especially since they’d have to bump down the price of the older systems.

      The arcade bundle’s only $149 now, which makes it $50 cheaper than the Wii. I’d say that’s a win.

      As far as Kinect goes, well, who knows. Is it neat? Kinda. Am I concerned about it? No. I probably won’t ever get it, and if I do I probably won’t use it. Not unless they can show me an experience I’d want with it.

  4. Will Dearborn

    Agreed I am super excited about this one. I want it for the far noise reduction but everything else just looks top class. Well done by Microsoft. Hope the reviews are good.

  5. Zaserov

    Figures – I just got an 360 a couple of months ago, and the $299 one at that. Of course, I’ll probably never fill up the 120 GB I have, and would have run a wire even with on-board wireless, but still, this is better for the same price.

    Ah well, I also got 2 free games with the bundle, and a couple of months of having the system. I guess it works out.

  6. besch64

    I like my electronics the way I like my coffee and women: black. Very nice aesthetic choice. I still want to find the guy who decided that white and green is a good color scheme and kick his ass. It always made me think of a bowl of vanilla ice cream in a toxic waste dump.

  7. Patrick A Crone

    I wish there had been more of a heads up about the release of a new console and price drop of the old unit. I had my second 360 crap out on me a little over a month ago and I decided to bite the bullet and by an arcade. Had I known there might be a price drop looming I would’ve waited a bit. Everytime the 360 has dropped in price there was at least month of speculation beforehand. It’s too bad that we didn’t get that type of heads up this time. That aside, I like the new design and the addition of built in wi-fi is very welcome.

  8. Eric

    They didn’t include the old memory unit jacks in the new Xbox because now you can use any USB flash drive as a memory unit. If you do have an old memory unit then you can transfer the data to the flash drive. The Xbox looks much more sexier without those ugly memory unit doors on the front panel.

    I don’t like how they used a glossy finish on the case. Like my PS3 it will attract dust and finger prints like crazy.