Xbox 360 Elite Landing at Retailers

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This week’s buzz might have been about the Nintendo Wii’s astonishing sales figures and the retirement of Ken "Father of the PlayStation" Kutaragi, but Microsoft is keen to let gamers know their new Xbox 360 Elite goes on sale at North American retailers this Sunday at a suggested price of $479.99.

The Xbox 360 Elite expands on the basic Xbox 360 platform Microsoft introduced in late 2005, increasing storage capacity to 120 GB and adding an HDMI output so owners can pump high-definition content (all the way to 1080p) to their televisions. The expanded hard drive capacity not only enables users to save more game data, but also increases the Xbox 360’s utility in the general living room, offering more space for users to store and play their own video content or content streamed from other Windows systems on their home network, or (of course) purchased and downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace’s selection of video and movie content.

The Xbox 360 Elite also ships with a black Xbox 360 Wireless controller, an Xbox 360 headset for talking trash during online multiplayer gaming sessions, and an HDMI cable for hooking up to a high definition television. The system also comes with a Xbox Live Silver Membership along with one month of free Xbox Live Gold membership, letting players tap into premium multiplayer online games and multiperson chat. Microsoft will also offer accessories for the Xbox 360 Elite, including an Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit (enabling players to charge their wireless controllers while playing) and a rechargeable battery pack.

And, of course, the most appealing feature to hardcore gamers? The slick black finish with metal trim.

At $479.99, the Xbox 360 Elite is still less expensive than the $599 60 GB edition of the PlayStation 3, but the Xbox 360 Elite doesn’t offer a high-definition optical drive. Movie fans who want to play high-definition movies on the Xbox 360, gamers will still need to spend a suggested $199.99 for the Xbox 360 external HD DVD player, bringing cost of an Xbox 360 Elite with high-def optical disc capability close to $700…although that’s still less expensive than buying an Xbox 360 and a standalone high-definition disc player.

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