Confirming what it admitted was the "worst kept secret" in the video game business, Microsoft on Tuesday announced its Xbox 360 Elite, an upgraded version of its 16-month-old next-generation console family.
News of the Elite console has been making its way around the blogosphere and video game sites for days; Microsoft's announcement did not contain any real surprises.
Essentially, the new console, at $479, is set to include a 120-gigabyte hard drive, as well as an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) port, an HDMI cable and a wireless remote, all in black. The Elite package will not, however, include an upgrade to the Xbox 360's behemoth power supply.
The existing Xbox 360 Core package, which has no hard drive, costs $299. The Pro model, which includes a 20GB hard drive, costs $399. Users of those models who want to upgrade to the 120GB hard drive can buy it separately for $180, Microsoft said.
Asked about well-publicized quality assurance problems with the Xbox 360 line--resulting in some customers returning their consoles multiple times--Xbox product manager John Rodman said the Elite would raise the line's quality standards.
"We made a tenet to not ship the Elite console...unless we got quality to where customers and readers and ourselves are happy," Rodman said.
That means, he said, that Microsoft is committed to the Elite being a better-built console that will not be subject to the same frequency of customer service complaints.