Xbox 360


    It is going to be, without a doubt, the most requested gift this holiday season, but the real challenge will be getting your hands on it.  Microsoft released their Xbox 360 game console Tuesday, Nov. 22 and by the time you read this most stores, if not all, will be completely sold out. 

    Many people camped out in front of stores in hopes of snagging a system before the rush.  Individuals stood in long lines in the wee hours of the morning to get their hands on the Xbox 360. Best Buy, which is no stranger to launch day mayhem, dispersed tickets to the first 50 customers to guarantee an Xbox 360 purchase.

    And in the spirit of competition, CircuitCity in an attempt to one-up its’ competitors began taking Xbox 360 orders through the website last Friday at 2 p.m.

    And while some love the thrill and excitement of getting their hands on the hot system on launch day, others went the safer and conventional route.  With most gaming stores, such as Gamestop and Electronic Boutique, taking pre-order reservations since the beginning of the year, consumers were guaranteed an Xbox 360 on release day, or so they thought.

    ”I was told back in May when I placed my order that I would get my system on November 22,” said Osman Malik of Temple Hills, Maryland.  “Now I’m being told that I may not receive my system until the second or third shipment.”

    With such an overwhelming reserve list and a small allocation of the system, Gamestop and similar video game stores, regulate and distribute the systems according to who reserved the earliest.

    So, what is the craze about?  Xbox 360, which is the first of the next generation systems to hit the market, is a very powerful machine boasting a central processing unit (CPU) which runs at breakneck speeds, thanks in part to its three separate core processors that clock in at 3.2 GHz each.  The 360 also contains a custom ATI graphics processor that clocks in at 500 MHz and displays 4 times the amount of polygons and pixels on screen as the original Xbox console

    Xbox 360 will ignite a new era of digital entertainment that is always connected, always personalized and always in high definition.  Every system is designed for high-definition, wide-screen televisions.  Whether connect to an HD television or not, gamers will experience smooth, cinematic experiences that will far exceed anything ever seen or felt in video games before.

    The  new console allows Xbox 360 gamers to play one another, watch DVD movies, listen to music, connect and view pictures from a digital camera and a Windows XP-based PC.  Xbox 360 introduces Xbox Live Marketplace, a huge new center of online commerce which surpasses its previous console- Xbox Live, the premier online gaming service with more than two million members.

    There are two versions of the 360 being released today, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core System.  The regular Xbox 360, retails for $399 and comes fully loaded with the console (with a premium chrome finish), 20 GB hard drive, wireless controller, Xbox Live headset, component HD AV cable and Ethernet cable.  With the Core system, which retails for $299, you get the console, one wired controller and the composite AV cable. 

    The Core System allows gamers to expand their gaming experience at their own pace, but taking into account the pricy upgrades and the simple addition of backwards capability, the ability to play the original Xbox games, it would be logical for consumers to spend the additional $100 on the Bundle edition.

    The launch line up will also include 18 Xbox 360 games, spanning all the popular genres, including Madden NFL 06, Call of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing.  In addition, 13 Xbox 360 accessories will also be available, including customized faceplates, wired and wireless controllers, wireless network adapters, and a universal remote.