With the recent official announcement of the Xbox 360 Elite console out in the open, today we have an XCN exclusive Q&A with Michael Newey, Platform Marketing Manager for Xbox in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with his take on the Xbox 360 Elite over in our shores.
Could you tell us exactly what gamers will get when they buy a Xbox 360 Elite console?
Mike Newey: Sure. Included with your Xbox 360 Elite you’ll get a 120 GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port built-in to the console, a high definition cable, and a premium black finish for the console, wireless controller, and Xbox LIVE headset. So not only does the Elite console have the bigger hard drive and the HDMI port, it also looks really cool.
Will we be able to buy the new Elite accessories separately?
Mike Newey: Absolutely. Offering Xbox 360 owners the choice to upgrade and customise their console in whichever way they want is very important to us, so we will be making all of the Elite accessories available separately. The 120 GB hard drive, the black Wireless Controller, the black Headset and the Xbox 360 HDMI cable will all be available for sale separately in the US from April 29, and we’ll be announcing European launch dates for these accessories as soon as we can.
In addition, we will also be releasing black versions of the Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit and the Rechargeable Battery so you can ensure all your accessories match! Again, we’ll bring you more details about when these accessories will launch in Europe soon.
When will the Elite console be available?
Mike Newey: The Elite Xbox 360 will be available in the US from April 29. We have not announced release dates for the Elite console in Europe yet, but rest assured that as soon as we can let you know we will.
Why can’t you tell us when the Elite Xbox 360 and accessories will be available in Europe?
Mike Newey: I really wish I could! But let me reassure European gamers that we’re definitely committed to bringing the Xbox 360 Elite to Europe and other regions around the world. I unfortunately can’t give you any more information at the moment about when this will be, but we will announce dates in those regions the moment we can.
Why is the US getting the Xbox 360 Elite first? It feels like Europe always has to suffer when stuff like this comes up…
Mike Newey: While I know it’s not much comfort for European Xbox 360 fans, we’re introducing the Xbox 360 Elite console into North America first because there is already a large base of Xbox LIVE customers there who are already downloading HD games and entertainment. Because of that it makes more sense for us to introduce the Elite console in the US before Europe. That said, we know that gamers in Europe and around the world will be desperate to get their hands on the Xbox 360 Elite and its accessories. I wish I had better news for you, but all I can tell you right now is that we’re working very hard to bring the Elite console and accessories to Europe as soon as we can, and I’d like to thank European Xbox 360 fans for their patience and support.
The Xbox 360 Elite console will be priced at $479.99 in the US – how much will it cost in Europe when it finally arrives?
Mike Newey: I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m afraid I can’t give you any information on European pricing for the Elite Xbox 360 or the Elite accessories at the moment. As soon as we can give you this information we’ll be delighted to share it with you.
The Xbox 360 Elite console is the most expensive Xbox 360 yet, but Nintendo’s Wii has been selling really well and it’s very cheap. Why are you introducing a more expensive console?
Mike Newey: The Nintendo Wii is great fun, but it’s a games console and very little else. Aside from standard def gaming it has very limited functionality compared to the Xbox 360. For a few pounds or Euros more than the Wii we offer high definition gaming with Xbox 360 Core, which you can always upgrade with a hard drive and other accessories if you want to.
On the other hand, the Elite Xbox 360 offers more than double the storage capacity of any competing console. This will allow you to store more games, music, photos and other entertainment on your Xbox 360 than any other console out there. We know that gamers want to be able to do this, so that’s why we’ve introduced the Elite console and the 120GB hard drive.
The PS3 has received criticism for being very expensive – given the Elite Xbox 360 is more expensive than the current Xbox consoles on sale, aren’t you just saying that Sony’s high price is okay?
Mike Newey: Don’t forget that we will soon be offering European gamers three choices: Xbox 360 Core, Xbox 360 Premium and now the Xbox 360 Elite. In comparison Sony only offers one type of console for about £425 or 599 Euro. The Xbox 360 Core console is the perfect way for gamers to get all the benefits of the Xbox 360 at a great value price. Later, if they decide to upgrade their Xbox 360, they can add a 120 GB hard drive which is more than double the storage capacity of the PS3, at a price lower than the PS3!
If I buy a new 120 GB Hard Drive, will I be able to transfer the data on my existing 20 GB hard drive onto it? Or will I have to constantly swop my hard drives?
Mike Newey: You won’t have to swop your hard drives at all. When you buy a 120 GB Hard Drive you’ll also receive a migration cables which will allow you to easily copy all the data on your old hard drive onto your new one. It’s really easy!
Will the Elite console come with one of these migration cables?
Mike Newey: We don’t think there will be a lot of current Xbox 360 owners who want to buy an Elite console and transfer data from their old 20 GB hard drive, so there will not be a migration cable bundled with the Elite console. However, we know that some current Xbox 360 owners will want to upgrade to the Elite console, so if they get in touch with us we will be more than happy to supply a migration cable free of charge.
Why have you decided to add an HDMI socket to the Elite Xbox 360?
Mike Newey: We decided to offer an HDMI cable with the Elite console to continue to offer more choices to Xbox 360 owners. If you’re lucky enough to have an HD television equipped with an HDMI socket you’ll now be able to enjoy a high definition signal through a single cable. However, you do not need HDMI to experience Xbox 360 games and entertainment in high definition – it just gives you more options.
Will the Premium and Core Xbox 360 consoles have HDMI added soon?
Mike Newey: We have not made any announcements about adding HDMI to either the Core or Premium Xbox 360 consoles.
There have been a lot of rumours that the black Xbox 360 would come with a built-in HD-DVD drive. Why have you decided to not do this, especially since PS3 comes with a built-in Blu-Ray drive?
Mike Newey: We’ve taken great care to listen to what our customers want, and we’ve heard that the majority of people do not necessarily want an HD DVD player built into their Xbox 360. The big thing for us at Xbox is to offer you as much choice as possible, so rather than forcing you to pay for an HD-DVD drive you might not want to use we have made the external Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive available. If you’re keen to watch DVDs in high definition you can purchase the HD-DVD drive separately – but we’re not forcing you to pay more for it if you don’t want it.
There has also been a lot of talk online about a quieter disc drive in new Xbox 360s. Will this quieter disc drive be in the Elite Xbox 360 console?
Mike Newey: I can’t comment on details of specific components. What I can say, however, is that we’re always making sure that the parts we use to build the Xbox 360 are the latest and best parts available.
10 million Xbox 360 customers have already spent money on an Xbox 360 with a smaller hard drive and no HDMI connectivity. What would you say to these customers?
Mike Newey: We really believe that the majority of current Xbox 360 owners will find that their existing system already does everything they need. There are no new features on the Xbox 360 Elite console that your existing Xbox 360 doesn’t have. You can already connect your existing Xbox 360 to your HDTV with a hi-def cable, and if you feel you want to upgrade your hard drive we will be making the 120 GB hard drive available separately. However, if you’re buying an Xbox 360 for the first time or you’re a current Xbox 360 owner wants the premium high definition experience and a bigger hard drive, the Xbox 360 Elite console is a great value way to upgrade.
Does the announcement of the Xbox 360 Elite console mean that we’ll be seeing a price drop for the existing consoles in Europe soon?
Mike Newey: At the moment there are no plans to announce a price drop for the Xbox 360.
Will you be removing the Xbox 360 Premium Console or the Xbox 360 Core Console from European stores now that the Xbox 360 Elite Console has been announced?
Mike Newey: No. Both the Premium Xbox 360 and the Core Xbox 360 are very important for offering you as much choice as possible when buying an Xbox 360. The Elite Xbox 360 does not replace either of these – rather, it offers a further option for the kind of gamer who wants the biggest possible hard drive, HDMI connectivity at a great value price. And I didn’t even mention the cool black finish on the console and its accessories, which is definitely going to make the Elite console a bit of a collector’s edition!
Recently faulty Xbox 360 consoles and customer service complaints have been making the news. Are you bringing in the Elite console to phase out some of the older, more unreliable Xbox 360 consoles out there?
Mike Newey: We take our customers’ feedback very seriously and we are doing everything in our power to address the issues that have been brought to our attention. That said, we’ve introduced the Elite Xbox 360 to offer you more choice and not to get rid of any other Xbox 360 console. We’re really confident that everyone who buys an Elite console will be extremely impressed with what a quality – and cool – product it is.
Thanks for your time Mike!
Leave us your feedback on the Xbox 360 Elite, will you be exchanging your current 360 for an Elite box? What do you think a good price will be for the console? Let us know below.