Xbox 360 takes the stage

Xbox 360, successor to Microsoft's popular Xbox gaming console, got the rock-star treatment in the US overnight at a gaudy (though prerecorded) launch event broadcast on MTV.

Though the newest incarnation of the Xbox franchise won't be available until the US holiday season, "MTV Presents: The Next-Generation Xbox Revealed" (hosted by Frodo himself, The Lord of the Rings' Elijah Woods) should whet gamers' appetites from here to Middle Earth. It will also preempt competitor Sony, which plans to announce its own next-generation gaming system, the PlayStation 3, on May 16.

Unlike the chunky first-generation Xbox, the 360 is sleek and concave, with optional face plates and a glowing green on/off button. More significant, though, is what's inside the box: a sophisticated, powerful PC cleverly disguised as a gaming system.

More Than a Console?

Microsoft has intimated that the Xbox 360 could form the centerpiece of a digital, connected home, maybe even supplanting the Media Center PC. System specs bear out that contention. Powered by a custom-made IBM PowerPC-based three-core chip running at 3.2 GHz, and supported by 512MB of GDDR3 RAM, the new Xbox should have enough oomph to keep up with even the zippiest current-day PC. Graphics performance should be stunning as well, powered by an ATI GPU running at 500 MHz, with 10MB of embedded DRAM.

The unit will ship with a 12X dual-layer DVD-ROM drive, three USB 2.0 ports, two memory unit slots, and support for four wireless game controllers. It supports progressive-scan DVD movies and a slew of DVD and CD formats. Savvy users will be able to stream media from portable devices or Windows XP PCs, as well as rip music to the Xbox's detachable (and upgradable) 20GB hard drive. For networking, the Xbox 360 includes a built-in ethernet port and support for 802.11a, b, and g flavors of Wi-Fi.

Services

When the new machine ships, Microsoft will offer free access to its Xbox Live online service for downloads, chat, and the like. Xbox Live "Gold" subscribers (fee not yet announced) will enjoy enhanced options for online game matchmaking and a greater ability to provide feedback on opponents.

Speaking of opponents, Sony hopes to slow Microsoft's momentum with the PlayStation 3, though famously close-to-the-vest Sony execs have not confirmed ship dates as of yet. Potentially even more powerful than the Xbox 360, the PS3 will support the new high-capacity Blu-ray discs. Both units will have enthusiastic support from game makers, who are readying a wide variety of titles for both platforms.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steve Fox

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?