Microsoft plans to cease the Xbox 360 "core" edition, but instead will offer an "arcade" version, which will feature five free arcade games along with a 256MB memory card and the Xbox Live Silver subscription, at the same price-point of $279 this fall. The only difference between "arcade" and "core" is the product bundle. The new Xbox 360 arcade can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com online store today, but the device will officially begin shipments on October 23rd.
Executives at Microsoft recently acknowledged that the company needs to attract casual gamers to the Xbox 360 platform to compete against Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 arcade seems to be one of the first tangible actions to fulfill the intention. The Wii currently costs $249, and assuming Nintendo doesn't drop the price for Christmas, that's a $30 difference between the two consoles. Other than being cheaper, the Wii also has a unique motion-sensitive wireless game controller. As a result, Microsoft will need to promote the obvious advantages of its latest gaming platform: technical excellence and realistic graphics, something that is not really important for arcade games.
News source: Xbit Laboratories