Late Night Consoling

  • New Xbox 360 SKU on the way, really


    For several months, there have been persistent rumors of a new Xbox 360 model featuring HDMI output and a 120GB hard drive. The rumors were supported by an allegedly leaked photograph of the unit, codenamed "Zephyr," but were dismissed by Microsoft.

    Now, the April issue of Game Informer has concrete news of the new unit, which is entirely matte black and does indeed include HDMI and a 120GB hard drive. It is set to retail for $479, compared to $399 for the 20GB regular Xbox 360 model and $299 for the hard drive-less Core model. Gadget blog Engadget posted a followup story courtesy of "trusted sources," reporting that the unit will be called Xbox 360 Elite, will include an all black wireless controller and headset, and is likely to be produced in limited numbers.

    Oddly, Engadget notes that once the Elite run has finished, regular Xbox 360 units will inherit its larger hard drive and HDMI capability; it is unclear if pricing will be adjusted at all given the apparent premium that early Elite adopters will pay for black paint. Note that, as of the time of writing, a standalone 20GB Xbox 360 hard drive still sells for $99, while adding a further 100GB with the Elite model is only another $79.

    Last April, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing announced that it would be providing 65nm process CPUs to Microsoft for Xbox 360 starting at some point in 2007. There has been no word on whether these chips will replace the system's current 90nm CPUs in either the Elites or the post-Elite standard Xbox 360 units.

    Xbox 360 Elite is currently set to launch in late April.

  • inXile to pull off Hei$t

    [ps3] [xbox360]

    inXile Entertainment, headed up by original Interplay founder Brian Fargo, is currently developing a bank robbery-themed action/adventure game entitled Hei$t, publisher Codemasters announced today. Set in San Francisco during the 1969 Summer of Love, the game attempts to recreate the atmosphere of classic heist films and Hollywood car chases by focusing heavily on both the break-in and the getaway aspects of flashy robberies.

    "Everything from the different types of jobs to pull and the reckless pursuits by the police through the streets of San Francisco, to the sarcastic banter back and forth between the members of the crew gives HEI$T the action and style of the great attitude and rock-driven films of the 60's," said creative director Maxx Kauffman.

    Specific console platforms for the game were not identified beyond "next-generation consoles," but expect it to hit PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as the already confirmed PC.

    Previously, inXile developed The Bard's Tale (PS2, Xbox, PC). The game was an update to Interplay's classic The Bard's Tale RPG series, on which Fargo had worked during his tenure at the company. Last year, inXile announced its plans to bring Bostjan Cadez's popular online Flash game Line Rider to Wii and Nintendo DS.

    Hei$t is set for release this fall.

  • PS3 1.60 coming Thursday, includes background downloads


    Sony sent word today that version 1.60 of PlayStation 3's system software will be released this Thursday. Among the additions is Folding@home, the distributed computing client detailed last week. Folding@home allows PS3 consoles to lend their excess processing power to protein folding research.

    Also planned is the capability to queue up to six pieces of content to download in the background while conducting other non-game tasks such as playing media or using the system's web browser. Similarly, Xbox 360 launched without this functionality and later gained it in a system software update.

    Though PS3 already supports USB mice and keyboards, this week it will gain support for wireless Bluetooth-enabled mice and keyboards. It will also gain a full onscreen keyboard as an option beyond the current phone-like onscreen keypad.

    The long-promised Remote Play feature allowing media to be streamed from a PS3 to a PSP over a local area network will also be enabled.

    Finally, there will be an option that automatically plays a game or movie disc as soon as it inserted into the system or when the PS3 is turned on, and the system will gain Blu-ray Disc Rewriteable playback capability.

    Users will be able to obtain the update on Thursday, March 22 by performing a System Update or by downloading the update from Sony's official site and transferring it to the system.

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

SSX Tricky for the PlayStation 2. "Run DMC's song will never die." (submitted by Prozium)