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120GB HDD price drop to $149, still too spendy

Looking to increase the size of your hard drive? You know, swap your Xbox 360's measly 20GB or 60GB hard drive for a whopping 120GB of storage goodness all without having to tap into your 401K? Well, you're sorta in luck, because GameDaily was able to probe Microsoft enough to learn that the 360's standalone 120GB HDD has officially dropped its retail price to $149. That's a $30 price drop from its original $179 price tag.

That said, we don't have to tell you that $149 for a 120GB HDD is very spendy and, as GameDaily was keen to point out, you could technically plop down an extra $50 and buy a brand new 360 Arcade. True, you wouldn't get any additional storage capacity with the Arcade, but you'd have a 512MB 256MB memory card and a backup just in case your primary console decides to ring out.

Rumor: 60GB HDD, 3mo. Live and ethernet for $99, new 12mo. Live bundle too

You've been asking about it, you've been wondering when and at what price it'll release and now we may have an answer for you. The 60GB standalone Xbox 360 hard drive is rumored to release as a bundle for $99, maybe ...

According to the 1UP rumor mill, the 60GB HDD bundle was recently revealed to attendees of the GameStop Expo in Las Vegas (employees only, please). The bundle is said to include the 60GB HDD, a 3 month subscription to Xbox Live and an ethernet cable all for $99. Not horribly bad. But what also caught our eye is the other GameStop Expo rumor regarding a new 12 month Xbox Live bundle.The new bundle is pegged to include a year of Xbox Live, a copy of PGR4 and a 360 Messenger Kit for $69. Again, this is all gossipy rumor stuff, so don't get overly excited just yet.

[Via NeoGAF]

60GB HDD + headset + 3 months Live = 79 Euros

Word coming from the Leipzig Games Convention is that Microsoft has an Xbox 360 60GB HDD bundle planned for Europe and, relatively speaking, it's pretty decently priced.

A Microsoft produced flyer is making the internet rounds that was supposedly sent to Xbox Live Gold members in Germany. The flyer informs us of a new Xbox 360 Live 60GB HDD Starter Pack will release in November and will include the hard drive itself, a wired headset and three months of Xbox Live all for 79 Euros. Not too bad, seeing that a standalone 120GB HDD costs a whopping 129 Euros already. We aren't certain if this is an European exclusive offer or if it'll be sold in North America as well, but we'd totally welcome a cheaper 60GB HDD bundle. With open arms.

[Thanks, Sjeltur]

Rumor: New 360 controllers feature revised d-pad [update]

Update: D-pad rumors are cleared up and it looks like we aren't getting an improved d-pad anymore.

In rumor news coming straight from the Leipzig Games Convention floor, Eurogamer is reporting that Microsoft has plans to release new Xbox 360 controllers featuring a revised d-pad.

Eurogamer heard about the d-pad revision from a third party publisher who confirmed that the new controllers will look exactly like the current model, but with 32 direction support. We're also told that the Games Convention booth for Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer is using the new controller and Capcom's Street Fighter IV will supposedly support the new d-pad as well. Eurogamer posted pictures of the revised d-pad controller which is coincidentally the new green controller set to release next month. Does that mean the new green and red controllers are the rumored to be revised controller models with improved d-pads? We aren't exactly sure, so we'll wait for Microsoft to comment.

E308: Up close and personal new red and green controllers

This E3, not only did we receive megaton Xbox 360 software announcements, but we also received two megaton peripheral announcements too. Well, not exactly megaton in scale, but there are two brand new controller colors hitting retailers later this September.

High resolution pictures of he red and blacked controller as well as the solid green wireless controllers (with matching battery packs) can be viewed in the gallery below. If you're a Gears of War 2 fanboy, then we say go with the red / black controller. If you're all about saving the Earth, then go green with the green controller. Then again, if you're all about saving the planet we wouldn't recommend purchasing a factory manufactured petroleum plastic based product. We'd feel dirty.

Gallery: E308: Red and Green Controllers

The Guitar Hero / Rock Band guitar matrix v2.0!

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith recently released and we have Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2 to look forward to later this year, meaning we're getting a bunch of brand new guitar peripherals. Take into account the older guitars from Guitar Hero II and III as well as the original Rock Band and you're left with a confusing instrument compatibility mess. Our head hurts just thinking about it. But team Joystiq has done their best to make sure you understand which guitar peripherals work with which games, breaking down the information into a convenient Guitar Hero / Rock Band guitar compatibility matrix (version 2.0). Make the jump to view the complete matrix of guitar compatibility and be in complete peripheral compatibility awe and, possibly, complete compatibility disgust.

It's Rock Band 2's wireless drums and guitar peripherals all boxed up

Looky here! It's Rock Band 2's wireless drum set and wireless guitar! Spotted on Amazon.com! All boxed up and hidden from view! Enough with the exclamation points already! Okay!

Yes sir, Harmonix will be releasing a standalone drum set and wireless guitar that, according to folks at Amazon.com, are set to release alongside the special edition Rock Band 2 bundle and software in September. That means, unlike the original Rock Band, you won't have to wait months after the game's release to buy standalone peripherals. Both the drums and guitar (again, all boxed up) are $10 more expensive then their Rock Band brothers, with the drums retailing for $89.99 and the guitar retailing for $69.99. Ouch ... we know. While you ponder whether or not a wireless drum set is worth $90, we advise just sitting back and admiring their retail boxes. They're so boxy, so blue, so Rock Band inspired and so damn expensive.

[Thanks, Willenholly]

Source - Rock Band 2 wireless drums
Source - Rock Band 2 wireless guitar

Buy $100 in 360 accessories, get a free game

Microsoft is running an interesting deal for Canadian fanboys, where they're giving customers a free game for purchasing at least $100 in 360 accessories. Suh-weet!

This mail-in offer (again, only available in Canada) gives customers the choice of receiving Halo 3, Lost Odyssey, PGR4 or Viva Pinata Party Animals for FREE as long as receipt proof can be supplied proving that $100 in accessories were purchased between June 17th and July 1st, 2008. And by accessories, we mean pretty much every accessory known to exist including controllers, Vision camera, wireless adapter, 120GB HDD and the Messenger Kit. That means if you are already in the market for high priced 360 accessories like the 120GB HDD or wireless adapter, you pretty much score a free game with your purchase. Hit the "source" link below (warning, it is a PDF link) to read all offer details.

[Thanks, Cody Chateauvert]

First Mad Catz Rock Band instruments next week (probably)

According to RockBandMods.net, the officially licensed Mad Catz Rock Band instruments -- announced ages ago -- will finally release next week. Apparently, the instruments were listed on Amazon at one point, but the listings have since been removed. The instruments listed are/were:
  • Wired bass guitar -- Officially licensed Fender Precision bass replica with 'split strum bar' that allows for simultaneous up and down strumming. (June 22 - $69.99)
  • Wired guitar -- Officially licensed Fender Telecaster guitar replica with programmable strum bar (programmable, as in 'cheating'?), 'quick response' fret buttons (release date not listed -- $79.99)
  • Wired microphone -- Integrated d-pad and face buttons (!), lock/unlock button, 'high profile' pop stopper (supposedly out now, though not in stores yet -- $59.99)
  • Portable drum kit -- Small, portable drum kit with quiet pads and foam tipped drumsticks. Custom drum pad covers available. It's not clear if this set is actually freestanding or it has to be set on top of something (July 15 - $49.99)
  • Premium wired drums -- Full drum set designed after real electric drum sets. Features high hat (with foot pedal), crash cymbal and 'fully adjustable' drum heads with 'two axis motion' and the ability to reposition each drum head (August 1 - $149.99)
We expect that most gamers will be most interested in the portable and premium drum kits. Unfortunately, there isn't an actual photograph of either product, so we're still in the dark about how exactly the portable drum set will work. Still, we can't help but be intrigued. It's also worth noting that all of the peripherals seem to be wired (although the portable drum kit doesn't specify wired or wireless). A wireless version of the bass is expected in September. Wireless versions of the other instruments remain in the dark (though we imagine there will eventually be a wireless version of the guitar).

Anyone ready to open their wallets for one of these?

[Thanks, eric e]

Amazon discounts 20GB and 120GB 360 hard drives

Going hand in hand with this week's retail Xbox 360 deals thus making this a money savings morning, we bring you word that Amazon.com has a few good deals on Xbox 360 hard drives. Money savings on both the 20GB drive and uber large 120GB model.

As part of their gaming "Deal of the Day", today and today only Amazon.com has discounted the 360's (already overpriced) 20GB hard drive to $65 and the 120GB hard drive to $135. As always, Amazon doesn't charge shipping on orders over $25 and (for most buyers) is also tax free. So, if you're in the market for a new 360 hard drive, today just might be the day for you to jump in and ease the purchasing pain by saving yourself 25% off of retail. Every penny counts.

[Thanks, Ben]

First glimpse of the Rock Band Stage Kit

If you recall, this past February a new (and still unannounced) Rock Band peripheral called the Stage Kit was spotted over on Gamestop's website. Back then, we were only given images of what the light and smoke peripheral's box looked like, but it was enough to warrant Stage Kit / WALL•E / police spot light comparisons. Now, Gamestop has since updated their Stage Kit pre-order page with a new picture of the peripherals including what looks to be a 360 controller / strobe light hybrid. Gamestop also pegged the (GASP!) $100 peripheral for an August 15th release, so gather what info you can from that.

[Thanks, HazyCloud]

First look at Guitar Hero IV drum set

Thanks to the Game Informer article that broke all the Guitar Hero IV news recently, comes the first photograph of the game's drum set. And after a quick look over, the biggest difference between it and the Rock Band drum set is the addition of the yellow and orange pie wedged "symbols" and use of three other drum pads. Interesting, different and ... well, interesting. We're also informed that the set's durability is top notch as they point out that "this thing is not going to crack". We'll see how durable their drum creation really is after it feels the abusive drumming madness that SuperDunners brings everytime he takes stage. As plastic peripherals shake in fear, we warn you GHIV drums ... be afraid.

Rumor: 'Lips' isn't a game, it's a new accessory

The mystery of the "Lips" game (news that was leaked days early thanks to Microsoft's press site) is seeing another twist, with word that "Lips" really isn't a game. Instead, "Lips" is rumored to be the codename for a new Xbox 360 accessory.

8Bit Joystick is reporting that months ago they got a hold of insider documents from the Xbox 360 engineering team and came across mention of a new 360 voice accessory code named "Lips". No more information was detailed in the supposed insider documents, but 8Bit Joystick speculates that these "Lips" will either be a new way to communicate or will add voice recognition to games. We aren't sure if that makes much sense seeing that we have a perfectly functioning headset that does voice recognition, but we'll go with it seeing that "Lips" speculation is more fun when thinking about new accessories. So ... is tomorrow's news here yet?

120GB HDD pricing analyzed and it's overpriced

The crew over at MTV Multiplayer did some detective word, analyzed the cost to produce the Xbox 360's 120GB HDD peripheral and guess what? They concluded that it's one over-priced hard drive ... shocker! According to their research, the 120GB drive (which retails for $179 in the U.S.) costs around $75 for the drive itself, another $5 or so for the special software and casing bringing the total to about $80. Tack on a Microsoft profit of around $20 per drive and a retail profit of around $80 and you've got yourself a $180 120GB HDD. Way too expensive. You'd think Microsoft would want to make it cost effective for gamers to upgrade their 360's storage seeing that the majority of the content being put on them is paid XBLM content. Guess not though.

Rumor: X360 motion sensing controller by winter, codenamed Newton

According to Jake Metcalf, the blogger who first broke the Bungie / Microsoft split, the Xbox 360 will see its rumored motion sensing controller by the end of this year. The controller, codenamed "Newton" as in Newtonian Physics relating to gravity, inertia and acceleration, uses licensed patents from Gyration, makers of the 3D mouse and co-developer of technology used in Nintendo's Wii remote and the Guitar Hero controller (Patents 5898421 and 5440326).

Citing internal sources in Microsoft's hardware division, Metcalf describes the Newton as being powered by an USB LED sensor bar and having, "an LED sensor on the front accelerometer and gyroscope ... that can detect tilt and motion, rumble motors, wireless two way data communication with the 360 [and includes] a built in Microphone for Xbox Live and voice-activated games."

In January we broke the news that Rare was developing an Xbox Live Arcade game, titled The Fast and the Furriest, which purportedly features "a wand type input device for gesture recognition." The rumored Newton seems to fit the bill nicely for the title and may release along side the peripheral with an included download code, according to Metcalf. At the end of his lengthy post, Metcalf reiterates his confidence in his source and promises that if the Microsoft branded Wii remote-like device isn't out by the end of the year he will donate his Nintendo Wii to charity.

If the rumors end up being true, gamers shouldn't be surprised. With the popularity of the Nintendo Wii reaching a large segment of, traditionally, non-gamers, the market has opened-up considerably. With Microsoft's recent work to clear hardware shortage issues and Nintendo's constant sell-out rate, an Xbox 360 style Wii-mote could end up being a smart move and then it will be a matter of time before a new Arcade SKU is released that includes the rumored controller.

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