LOS ANGELES--Microsoft's showstopping closer for its Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference this morning was the unveiling of the most dramatic Xbox 360 hardware revision since the console launched in November 2005. Equipped with built-in N-wireless connectivity, a 45nm CPU and GPU, the new slimline 250GB Xbox 360 will include a built-in port for the Kinect motion-sensing system and a $300 price tag.
The price tag of the current Xbox 360 Elite model is $300, which includes a 120GB hard drive and a comparatively bulky exterior. That model, which includes no wireless functionality, is getting a $50 price cut effective immediately. The $200 Arcade model, which doesn't even include a hard drive, is being similarly discounted, and will now only cost $150.
Ryan Moore, product marketing manager for Xbox, told GameSpot that both models are also being discontinued. Once they leave the retail channel, the new slimline Xbox 360 will be the sole Xbox mode on the market--for a time. Moore said that Microsoft is currently working on a second new Xbox 360, which will be offered at the arcade's price point of $200. He declined to say what functionalities the cheaper model would or would not have.
One likely scenario is the cheaper model will essentially be a slim arcade with no Wi-Fi capabilities or a hard drive. Contrary to early reports, the new 250GB 360 has a fully detachable hard drive, much like its elder brothers. However, like the console itself, it is much smaller than its forebearer.
Moore also said that going forward, all future models of the Xbox 360 would not have names and would only be designated by their memory capacity. He decline to elaborate on whether that meant that all future 360s would have a hard drive of some sort.