Xbox 360, the successor to Microsoft's popular Xbox was launched in the US last night on MTV.

Xbox 360 won't be available until Chrsitmas. The MTV presentation was hosted by Frodo/Elijah Woods. The move also preempts Sony's PlayStation 3 launch, scheduled for May 16.

Xbox 360 is sleek and concave, with optional face plates and a glowing green on/off button. It also integrates a powerful PC.

More Than a Console?

Microsoft has hinted that the Xbox 360 could form the centrepiece of a digital, connected home, maybe even supplanting the Media Center PC. The machine is powered by a custom-made IBM PowerPC-based three-core chip running at 3.2GHz, and supported by 512MB of GDDR3 RAM. Graphics performance is 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 WiFi.


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.