Mega-storage powers up Xbox 360, not PS3
Eighteen months after Microsoft released the Xbox 360, its next-gen gaming console, the company will drop a new version onto the market. The latest machine, tagged the Xbox 360 Elite, will be in stores on May 4, and is priced at $550.
The Elite is distinguished by its black finish and metallic detailing, in contrast to the matte white of the earlier model. Inside, the Elite sports a new 120-gigabyte hard drive and a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, both part of Microsoft's strategy to make the Xbox 360 into more of a home-entertainment device. The larger hard drive (the earlier models had either no hard drive or a measly 20 gigs) "will allow our community to enjoy all that the next generation of entertainment has to offer", said Peter Moore, corporate vice-president for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division, in a statement.
The hard drive will enable customers to download music and high-definition games, movies, and television programs through Xbox Live. At January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company announced its intention to launch an Internet Protocol television service, but a start date for that program, which would likely be U.S.–only to begin with, has not been announced.
The new hardware also means that Microsoft can market a line of similarly coloured accessories, so you'll be able to replace your white controllers, rechargeable batteries, and charge kits with versions in black. But the best excuse for the Elite is the hard drive, which will also be sold separately for $210.
Two days after Microsoft's announcement, the Internet was abuzz with a rumour that Sony was planning to release a revamped PlayStation 3 with a larger hard drive.
The speculation was sparked by gaming Web site www.Kotaku.com, which dug up a filing made by Sony to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the regulatory agency responsible for any products that use radio frequencies.
Sony was requesting permission to revise the specs of the Bluetooth module used in the PS3, and in its letter mentioned a model with an 80-gigabyte hard drive. There are two configurations of the PS3 currently being sold, with 20- and 60-gig hard drives.
Sony representatives have been vague on the issue, but the bizarre thing about the story is how the major news outlets jumped on it. Various places, including the Washington Post , covered the story, which to my mind isn't much of a story.
The idea that at some point Sony will have a PS3 version with a larger hard drive is generally accepted, but only bumping the capacity from the current 60 gigabytes to 80 would be a bit silly. If and when Sony releases a PS3 with a revised configuration, it will likely be with a hard drive twice as large, or larger. But it certainly won't happen this year.