Xbox 360: 279 with hard disk and more, 209 without

Pricing at last, but no date.

Xbox 360 will cost 279.99 or EUR 399.99 in Europe, Microsoft has just told an audience at the Games Convention event in Leipzig. That is the main package, including 20GB hard disk, wireless controller, headset, Ethernet cable, high-definition television cable and wireless television-style remote control. The US price is $399.99.

A second package, called the Xbox 360 Core System, will be released at the same time, consisting of the bare bones console and a wired controller, for 209.99 or EUR 299.99. The US price for that is $299.99.

Microsoft has not confirmed a date, stating simply that it will be with us for "Christmas Season 2005" - an exact date should be pinpointed either at the Tokyo Game Show next month or, more likely, at Microsoft's showpiece X05 event in Amsterdam in early October.

"We always said we'd offer amazing value for money and we will," Microsoft man Chris Lewis told the audience. The conference also included demos of games like Project Gotham Racing 3 and Kameo, an EA presentation, and a sample of the X360's multimedia capacity - at one point an iPod was linked directly to the system and tracks played, and later on Kameo was paused mid-game so that the player could load in a track direct from the still-plugged-in iPod.

Although Microsoft has yet to confirm a date, Xbox 360 is expected to be on European shelves on November 24th according to various retail sources.

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