Microsoft is attempting to kick Sony while they're down with the announcement via April's issue of Game Informer magazine that they will be releasing a black Xbox 360 with a 120GB HDD, HDMI input, and an HDMI cable for $US479. The console will also support TIVO-like capabilities (DVR) but will not include an HD-DVD drive.
There is no word yet on when this version of the 360 will debut, or if the DVR features will cost extra. Also, Microsoft will offer an add-on 120GB HDD for under $US200.
UPDATE -- It looks like the system will debut in late April after a Microsoft annoucement earlier in the month.
Hat tip to Kotaku.
Rumors of the black Xbox 360 have been circulating for many moons now, so this configuration is nothing shocking.
I am a little tiffed at the price. $479 seems like a lot for the addition of the HDMI input, cable, and HDD. Granted, I'm sure it costs them more than, or right around, $80 to put this stuff in, but they really could have kicked Sony in the shins if they had pulled an Apple and released a new version at the same price point.
That is, if Microsoft had announced the black Xbox 360 at the current price of the premium system, $399, it would have really given Sony a conniption fit. Particularly if they would have then lowered the price of the current premium system to $350 or $299.
Instead, my guess is that they'll discontinue the "core" system, which retails for $299, and perhaps lower the price of the current premium system by $20 to $379.
In that way, you'll end up with the two price points: $379 and $479.
From an accounting standpoint, that would be a shrewd move, making the average price of the two new price points, $430, as opposed to the average price point of the current two systems, $350.
Of course, the premium is selling more than the core at this point, so the average is not entirely representative, but you get the point.
Moving on to the add-on HDD, which is something that would be necessary for the DVR, one has to wonder how you're going to get all of your data over to the new HDD.
Since you can redownload purchased games and your Gamertag (LUNABEAN), then it really is just a matter of saved game files. It'd be nice if Microsoft would include a memory card with every 120GB HDD in order to transfer data.
At this point, I'm happy to see that there is going to be a new Xbox 360 with more capacity and HDMI capabilities, however, I am disappointed at the price point.
They really could have gone for the jugular but seem to be playing it safe.
We'll let you know when a release date is announced. Until then, you may want to hold off on buying a 360.