The media are calling it Microsoft’s worst kept secret, but you can call it the Xbox 360 Elite – an updated model of the console that originally came out almost a year and a half ago. Set to retail for $549.99 in Canada, the Elite tears a page out of Sony’s PlayStation 3 gameplan and includes an HDMI port, a larger 120 GB hard drive, cables, a controller, and of course, a shiny new black finish.
It’s an almost essential upgrade for some considering how quickly the 20 GB hard drive, which was the only size available up until now, fills up when you start downloading games, patches, and other content through Xbox Live.
The only catch for Canadians is that the 120 GB hard drive could almost be considered useless right now unless you end up burning all of your CDs to the system.
While American Xbox 360 owners have options to buy TV and movie content from the Xbox Live service, in Canada there’s still no real content to speak of on the system. That’s thanks to the whole licencing issue that stems from the fact that content, just as an example, might be produced by ABC in the U.S. but is licenced to CTV in Canada. As I understand it, that means that CTV gets all the rights to a TV show in Canada and has to make a deal with both ABC and Microsoft to allow content to appear on the Canadian version of the Xbox Live site.
On the bright side the HDMI upgrade is a biggie for anyone with a TV that can handle the 1080p graphics.
Gamers who already own an Xbox 360, and want to pick up the new hard drive can buy it separately for an estimated retail price of $209.99 Canadian. For more details on the system head over to www.xbox.com or check out the full specs below…
Xbox 360 EliteXbox 360 Elite console. The console is equipped with a premium black finish and three powerful core processors capable of producing the best in HD entertainment (up to 1080p), 16:9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound, HDMI output and DVD playback with upscaling capabilities right out of the box.
Xbox 360 120GB hard drive. The 120GB detachable hard drive allows gamers to save their games and store television shows, movies, music, pictures, trailers, levels, demos and other content available from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.3 The hard drive is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $209.99 CDN
Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (black). This award-winning, high-performance wireless controller, now in black, features the Xbox Guide Button for quick, in-game access to friends and music. It has a range of up to 30 feet and a battery life of 30 hours on two AA batteries. It is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $59.99 CDN.
Xbox 360 headset (black). Now available in black, the headset lets gamers strategize or trade taunts while playing games and send voice messages to friends on Xbox LIVE.
Xbox 360 HDMI cable. New to Xbox 360, HDMI allows consumers to get HD video (up to 1080p) and multichannel surround sound, all from one cable.
Xbox LIVE Silver Membership. With this, gamers can chat with friends online, collect achievements and gamerscores, send and receive voice and text messages, and access Xbox LIVE Marketplace content such as game demos, HD movies and TV, as well as the best in downloadable games from Xbox LIVE Arcade.
One-month subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold. An Xbox LIVE Gold Membership provides a complete online entertainment experience. Those who subscribe to this premium service can engage in competitive online multiplayer matches, tailor their matchmaking via feedback and accomplishments, chat with more than one person at a time, and take advantage of unique privileges in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and Xbox LIVE Arcade.