Back to the Arcade for Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

Still pondering which console to buy for the kids (or yourself) this holiday season? Microsoft just made its bid with the official release of the Xbox 360 Arcade, retailing for just $279.99.

A couple days ago I reported on Sony's attempt to woo gamers to its system by dropping the price of its 40GB PlayStation 3 to $350, and its 80GB edition to $500. That prompted one PC World journalist to suggest that it was about time everyone gave the Blu-ray, WiFi-packing console a chance.

But, what does a PC World writer know about console games, anyway?

In Microsoft's favor, the Arcade introduces a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connector and five new games for a fairly reasonable price. Unfortunately, the games bundle can't boast Halo 3 or Half-Life 2, but instead a handful of classic Arcade (get it?) revisions like Pac-Man Championship Edition and Uno. Microsoft has also tossed in a wireless controller. (Source:

For those who don't know what HDMI brings to the table, it gives the gamer the ability to hook up their new 360 with a 1080p television and enjoy the highest resolution possible. An HDMI wire is still required, and my advice is to look on eBay, and not in those big box electronic stores (the difference can be upwards of $100).

As if the new, cheaper package isn't enough to entice parents, Microsoft also revealed its new "family-oriented programming" available for download form the Xbox Live service. Some one hundred episodes of Warner Bros. and Nickelodeon television shows are now available for purchase, including Spongebob Squarepants and classic Bugs Bunny clips.

Given its strong media abilities, like HD and DVD-playback, the new price point for the 360 should help sales, which in the next few months could be threatened by the continued success of the Nintendo and the PS3's grand cost cutbacks. For just $30 more than the Wii, gamers are now privy to the industry's strongest library.

Leading the strong list of Xbox 360 titles is Halo 3, which last month helped sell over half a million consoles. It was Microsoft's strongest showing in the console market since last December, and the holiday 2006 boom. (Source:

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