Xbox 360: Two versions, $300 and $400

Microsoft Wednesday announced two pricing plans for its next generation video game console, the Xbox 360. When the Xbox 360 goes on sale this holiday season, buyers will have the option to purchase a low-end version for $299.99 or a high-end version for $399.99. The less-expensive system will feature only the Xbox 360 console with a controller, which has to be plugged into the system to play games.

The $400 option will come with a 20 GB hard drive, a wireless controller, a headset (used for talking with other players on Xbox Live) that stylistically matches the Xbox 360 and, for a limited time, a remote control allowing users to more easily access the machine’s multimedia functions. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3, the follow-up to this generation’s most popular console, is expected to sell for no less than $350-$400.

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Both versions of the Xbox 360 will be available simultaneously, but Microsoft plans to have more of the $400 version on shelves. Depending on the supply, this could force parents during the holiday season to make the decision of a $400 console, a price that’s never been attempted for a major console, or buying something else (a $150 Xbox, perhaps?).

Microsoft would not commit to a quantity of hardware available at launch, nor would they specify what date we’ll see the Xbox 360 released. They did however give us prices on some of Xbox 360’s accessories. Stand-alone wireless controllers will run $50, a detachable 20 GB hard drives $100, headsets $20, and Xbox 360 faceplates $20, which allow users to customize their machine.

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