Print 56 comment(s) - last by Belard.. on Jul 11 at 11:23 PM

Microsoft's Xbox 360 Halo Special Edition boasts 360 Elite features, without the big price tag. (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft makes no moves to the Xbox 360 price, but instead announced a new Halo-themed console

On Thursday, Microsoft stunned the industry by announcing that it would extend the warranty on Xbox 360s afflicted with the Red Ring of Death (RROD) to three years following DailyTech’s report on Xbox 360 failure rates. On Tuesday night, the spotlight is once again on Microsoft with it hosting the first big press conference at this year’s slimmed-down E3.

Following Sony’s big announcement of the PlayStation 3 price drop, many turned their eyes over to Microsoft to see if it would respond with a price reduction of its own. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter even went as far as to tell clients that he is expecting Microsoft to drop the price of the Xbox 360 console across all its product line. Pachter believes that the 60GB PS3, at $499, represents a favorable comparison against the Xbox 360, and that Microsoft will drop the price to widen the gap.

Unfortunately, for those hoping that the analyst’s prophecy would turn out to be true, Microsoft did nothing to the price of its latest consoles. This effectively puts the 60GB PlayStation 3 console, along with its Blu-ray Disc playing capabilities, $20 apart from the HDMI-capable Xbox 360 Elite. In the Canadian market, the Xbox 360 Elite and the 60GB PS3 will share the exact same $549 price tag, giving consumers more to think about than just their wallets.

Perhaps the only “all new” surprise of the press conference was when Peter Moore reached behind the counter to pull out a new Xbox 360 console SKU. Although some may be hoping for that surprise to be the announcement of a more reliable, 65nm chip-based machine, or one with HD DVD built-in, the actual new console is a Halo Special Edition Console.

The Halo Special Edition Console will be shipping this September, no doubt alongside Halo 3’s September 25 release date. The console features an authentic Spartan green and gold finish and comes with matching Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, 20GB Hard Drive, Headset, Play & Charge Kit, HDMI output and exclusive Halo 3 Gamer Pics and Theme available via Xbox Live download. Microsoft has yet to announce pricing for the Halo Special Edition Console.

The special green Xbox 360 isn’t the only Halo promo item on Microsoft’s list. Last month, retailer GameStop revealed special Halo 3-themed Xbox 360 controllers featuring Todd McFarlane artwork and Spartan green wireless headset. For those who must have all things Halo 3, GameStop is also selling an appropriately themed Halo 3 Zune music player.

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RE: Sony and MS
By FITCamaro on 7/11/2007 8:18:46 AM , Rating: 2
1) I haven't heard of PS3s flying off the shelves now.

2) Both consoles have comparable hardware. The only thing in the PS3 thats better than the 360 is the Blu-ray drive. Hardly makes the PS3 more powerful though.

RE: Sony and MS
By bkm32 on 7/11/2007 10:34:55 AM , Rating: 3
No, it's Blu-Ray + Cell + insanely low defect rate that makes it more powerful.

IMHO, $480 for an Elite with a high probabilty for defect (based on Core and Pro reputation alone) is not worth it, but makes the PS3 with all of its high tech at $500 very worth it.

RE: Sony and MS
By zombiexl on 7/11/2007 10:48:39 AM , Rating: 5
Not to mention that CC has a deal on the PS3 this week that includes an extra controller with PS3 purchase. PS3 60GB w/ 2 controllers for $499 does sound like a better option than the elite at this time...

RE: Sony and MS
By Clenathan on 7/11/2007 12:13:14 PM , Rating: 3
Don't forget it also comes with 5 free Blu-Ray movies which are all quite good by the way.

RE: Sony and MS
By FITCamaro on 7/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Sony and MS
By GreenyMP on 7/11/2007 1:44:02 PM , Rating: 3
Just because the Blu-ray doesn't increase your frame rates doesn't mean that it doesn't make it more capable of playing games. Blu-ray gives you more space for textures, levels, audio tracks, extra content, etc.

Do you need it is another question, but it does not detract from the legitimacy of the original statement.

RE: Sony and MS
By Ryanman on 7/11/2007 2:22:09 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with Greeny, It doens't result in better graphics exactly (FEAR..... don't know what the heck they were thinking with that port) but no loading times and extra content + HD movies really makes the elite a pretty stupid idea in my opinion.

RE: Sony and MS
By bkm32 on 7/11/2007 3:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Think about it, dude. The PS3 has the same capability (if not better) for games than the X360, but you're getting a $499 Blu-Ray player for only $120 more than the Elite, $220 than the Pro, plus 40GB more HDD space that is totally upgradeable without having to pay a premium. If Sony had done this 8 months ago, the Sony fanboys would be swimming in dozens of quality AAA titles instead of waiting on MGS4 and FF13.

MS is making a huge mistake by not dropping the price on it's systems and is totally putting all of its next-gen eggs into the Halo 3 basket. If there's the slightest delay, or it turns out that Halo 3 discs are "bricking" X360s (like Forza 2), or even worse X360s are scratching Halo 3 discs, even the fanboys'll cry "foul" because now their precious Legendary edition is tarnished.

Plus, MS still needs to compete better with the Wii. Trust me, that stupid "Scene It" game and controller is not gonna cut it even if it is motion controlled.

RE: Sony and MS
By FITCamaro on 7/11/2007 4:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
1) I don't care about Blu-ray and I bought my console when the price difference was $120. So I wasn't going to pay a premium for a system with no games.

2) I agree with you that there should be a price drop on the 360.

3) The 360 is no less capable of games than the PS3.

4) I bought Forza 2 on launch day and no issues. Nor did I hear about the game "bricking" systems in the slightest.

5) I could care less about the hard drive space. I bought the Elite more for HDMI (DVD upconverting) and the black case (goes with my entertainment center) than I did for the 120GB hard drive. The only thing I download are updates, demos (which get deleted after I'm done), and the occasional map pack(none so far though).

Yes I like the idea of being able to replace the hard drive with any one I want. And yes I probably will get a PS3 eventually. But it'll be a while (maybe summer-fall of 2008). But I have no ideas that the PS3 is any better of a games console than the 360. The only reason I'll buy a PS3 is because developers are too entrenched in one console to make their games cross platform. Most notably, Japanese developers.

It's starting to look like the only reason I might get a PS3 is for FFXIII. Because MGS4 looks like it might come to the 360 due to the small user base of the PS3. The only other thing I might get it for is a future Final Fantasy XI successor. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Dark Sector are both coming to the 360 as well. All the rest of the games I currently know about and want are for the 360.

As far as smaller load times, the 1-2x Blu-ray drive in the PS3 is hardly quick at pulling data. Giant textures and whatnot take time to pull off the disc. I've only got 3 games for the 360(Gears of War, Forza 2, and Overlord) and none of them have any issues with extremely long load times.

And in competing with the Wii, the two are completely different. The 360 is about high res graphics, a home media center, and good games. The Wii is about interactive, standard def gameplay and thats it (other than the web browser and weather stuff. so exciting). Its unique, fresh, and a hit. But the two aren't made to compete with each other really.

I honestly though want to buy a Wii more than a PS3. If I'm going to buy a system for just two or three games, it might as well be a $250 one rather than a $500 one.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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