Microsoft has announced its next-generation console, the Xbox 360, via the worldwide MTV television special "MTV Presents: Xbox 360 Revealed."
The buzz-heavy but detail-light MTV show heralded a much more detailed release of information onto the Internet, as the press embargo was lifted, and Microsoft has now confirmed a plethora of the rumored details concerning its next-generation console, which will ship "this Christmas holiday" in North America, Japan, and Europe.
The doubly concave, white hardware itself, visible on the official Xbox 360 website
, can be arranged both horizontally and vertically, and has a detachable and customizable/interchangable face plate to allow for a variety of looks.
The console uses a powerful three-core PowerPC-based CPU, each core running at 3.2 GHz, and water-cooled in a similar fashion to the Apple PowerMac G5, which uses comparable PowerPC chips.
Microsoft has partnered with ATI for the graphics processor, which has a 500 MHz with 10 MB embedded DRAM, 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically-scheduled shader pipelines, and, crucially, unified shader architecture.
In terms of memory, the Xbox sports 512mb of RAM, somewhat increased from earlier predictions of 256mb, with a 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth.
Xbox 360's larger-scale storage is in the form of a detachable and upgradable 20 GB hard drive, but it also has support for optional memory cards for game saves and smaller media objects, starting at 64 MB.
In addition, after initial, incorrect rumors that the Xbox 360 might have HD-DVD support, the system's disc access system is via a 12X dual-layer DVD-ROM, with support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, and JPEG Photo CD.
One of the more innovative announcements is support for up to 4 wireless game controllers, and it's confirmed that the wireless Xbox 360 controller, unlike Nintendo's optional WaveBird pad, will be the default gamepad for the system. The controller's Xbox 360 logo, mounted in the center of each pad, will bring up a special master menu to control music, movies, and game usage.
Regarding video output, all Xbox 360 games are supported at 16:9, 720p and 1080i, with anti-aliasing, and both standard definition and high definition video output is supported. Finally, the console has a built-in ethernet port, vital for the expanded Xbox Live service, is Wi-Fi Ready with 802.11 A, B and G, and also sports 3 USB 2.0 ports.