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
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
quote: It's like they're having a contest to see who can be more stupid .