The rumors were true. Microsoft has officially announced the upcoming availability of a new, high-end version of its Xbox 360 console. As predicted, the Xbox 360 Elite will have a 120GB hard drive, HDMI audio/video output, and a “premium black finish” on the unit itself, the wireless controller, and the Xbox Live headset. The console will hit stores on April 29, and it will have a recommended retail price of $479.99. Unlike the $499 PlayStation 3, however, the Xbox 360 Elite will not include a high-definition video disc drive—neither HD DVD nor Blu-ray. Nonetheless, Microsoft says users will be able to download high-definition TV shows and movies from the Xbox Marketplace.
For those who already own an Xbox 360, Microsoft says it will sell the Elite model’s detachable 120GB hard drive as a separate accessory for $179.99—essentially the difference between the Premium and Elite Xbox 360 models.