So now we have launch prices, but still no launch date.
Wednesday at the German Games Convention, Microsoft
As expected, the premium edition Xbox 360 will sell at $399.99 and include a wireless controller, a 20-gigabyte detachable hard drive, an Xbox Live Silver membership and headset, a universal remote, and a component HD-AV cable. In contrast, the more affordable Xbox 360 Core System will sell for $299.99, but will only include the console, a wired controller, and standard AV cable. Both packages will come Xbox Live-ready, but even the "premium edition" owners will have to upgrade to Xbox Live Gold membership to play multiplayer games such as a next-generation Halo (the Silver membership includes online chat, voice and text messaging, and various downloads).
Microsoft still hasn't set a launch date, but has confirmed that there will be a simultaneous release in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in time for the holiday season. One rumor floating around the Internet has it that a Microsoft partner site accidentally slipped that Nov. 4 would be the launch date. Another rumor also says Nov. 4, with a couple of Wal-Mart
At any rate, we can probably expect the launch to be sometime in November.
But for Microsoft, play time is over. With the original Xbox, Microsoft has piled up losses but has also firmly established itself as the top rival to No. 1 Sony
As of June 2, Sony had shipped more than 90 million PlayStation 2 units since they were released in March 2000 in Japan and in October of that year in the U.S.; Microsoft has shipped only about 22 million units since Xbox's release in November 2001.
While Sony had a head start of more than a year and an established consumer base when it released the PlayStation 2, it also had a stable of console-exclusive blockbuster titles including its own Gran Turismo series, as well as games released first for the platform such as Take-Two Interactive Software's
This time around, Microsoft will have the head start, and a willing online partner in Electronic Arts