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June 10, 2013

Microsoft Puts New Xbox One Looks and Support into Revamped Xbox 360

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Perhaps one of the biggest events in a gamer's year is E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo, where many of the biggest new developments are shown off in both games, and occasionally, hardware. E3 is where gamers get a look at the stuff that will be on wish lists through the rest of the year and on into the next. Today's start to E3 went off with a bang as Microsoft (News - Alert) showed off not a new Xbox One, but rather, a new Xbox 360 modeled after the Xbox One.

The new version of the Xbox 360 is now available, and is said to be both smaller than the already slimmed-down Xbox 360's last release, and quieter to boot. The power button got the biggest downscaling, and was moved to be closer to the disc tray next to the eject button.

While the Xbox 360's facelift is a surprising one in its own right, perhaps even more surprising was the news that, unlike in previous instances, the Xbox 360's days weren't as numbered as some may think. Indeed, word from the show says that Microsoft plans to support the Xbox 360 with new game releases measured in the “hundreds” of titles as well as planned expansion to Xbox Live Gold that will give new subscribers access to two free games every month. The first two titles planned to offer, at last report, were “Assassin's Creed 2” and “Halo 3.”

While Microsoft hasn't exactly made a lot of friends of late with its stances on used games and rented games, it's clear that Microsoft doesn't mean to go out without a fight. Taking a page from Sony's playbook and offering users free games—even if old games—to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold does make for a much better value proposition than establishing paywalls to access all the better goodies that would either be free elsewhere or had to be subscribed to in order to get in, like YouTube (News - Alert) or Netflix.

Admittedly, the somewhat minor aesthetic notes included in the revamped Xbox 360 may not mean much to users—especially those who currently have an Xbox 360 that's still in good working order—but still, the revamp shows that, at least, Microsoft intends to keep its old dog in the hunt for a while longer, and that should prove good news to those who may not be upgrading right away in the face of a bad economy or the like.

A revamp to the Xbox 360, along with new games for it, should keep gamers at least somewhat happy even into the next generation of gaming, and this gives Microsoft a fairly exciting advantage going into the next generation, one that may well help it keep pace against Sony's lineup.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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