Friday, 24 August 2007

Elite Launch

Xbox 360 Elite launches today! It may lack the razzle-dazzle of a true next generation console release (this is a marketing relaunch). But, is significant in so much as Microsoft can now begin aggressive price reductions, in earnest and much to Sony's chagrin, and introduce the feted Falcon - the internal codename for their updated Xbox 360 motherboard housing smaller, cooler, 65nm Xenos and Xenon chips - and improve product reliability!

The "red ring of death", as it's known to gamers, has fuelled consumer anxiety and resistance since the Xbox 360 debuted, overheating, in holiday 2005. Subsequently the console has attained the brand diluting reputation of an alleged 33% hardware failure rate. With the benefit of hindsight it appears that I was wise to cancel my pre-order!

The Elite includes a 120GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a high-definition cable, and a premium black finish for the console, wireless controller, and Xbox Live headset.

A welcome iterative upgrade, the Elite still falls short compared to the PS3's multimedia credentials! The form factor remains unchanged, the Falcon isn't in mass production yet, and there's no Wi-Fi or HD DVD out-of-the-box. And, perhaps a deal breaker for some, US-based gamers are already reporting that the Xbox 360 Premium console is now sporting HDMI too!

This calls into question the Xbox 360 Elite's desirability and value. However, I'll leave that vexing conundrum to you and daydream about playing Virtua Fighter 5 (Xbox 360) on a redesigned machine using 45nm chips. Have a good weekend y'all.