Rumors of a new technology release of the Xbox have been around for a while (e.g. Project Falcon, Zephyr), but whatever new features can be worked in, the big prize is cost reduction on the money-losing game console (and expensive faults eliminated), particularly in view of the recent price cut. Ben Kuchera reports at Ars Technica that a source tells him that the Xbox 360 midlife kicker is on the way perhaps as soon as this month.
According to my source, Microsoft wants to cut through all their existing inventory of hardware. They will then quietly “soft launch” a new version of the Core and Premium hardware in late August or September that will include an HDMI port. It’s also expected that this new hardware will feature the 65nm process for the CPU and quieter DVD drives. The new hardware will ship in boxes very similar to what we saw on store shelves now, but there will be a small “call out” on the box so you know you’re getting a system with the HDMI connection.
That’s all swell but an HDMI port will hardly excite the folks with a focus on the bottom line who are wondering whether this will swing the console into the black like the Nintendo Wii has been from launch. Of course, not requiring expensive repairs is worth something. In the meantime, don’t expect too many savvy gamers to take advantage of the price cut until the new versions hit the shelves.