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E3: Xbox 360 Elite European Release Confirmed

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So E3 is here again – or at least its much smaller, invitation-only, sour puss 2007 version – and it kicks off with some good announcements from Microsoft.

The biggie (depending where you live) is that the Xbox 360 Elite has finally been given a European release date: 24 August. I suspect stock and production issues were behind the near four month delay between this and the US launch but at least it is on its way. No word on whether it will be a console based on the upgraded Falcon chipset, but fingers crossed.

As a further bonus to Euro gamers Microsoft also confirmed licensing deals have been sorted out so that the Xbox Live's video downloads service is at last available outside of the US. There is a considerable amount of content available on there including a newly added HD Disney catalogue.

Next up, to coincide with the launch of Halo 3 Microsoft will be producing a special edition of the console with matching paint job. It will only be a spray painted 20GB version however and again no word on whether Falcon will be inside.

Finally – moving to the software side – MS had some very impressive gaming news. GTA4, PGR 4, Call of Duty 4, Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed will all debut before the end of the year while the company has scored big with the news that Resident Evil 5 will be coming to the 360 next year.

The PC also had some positives in all this console talk with Gears of War and Viva Pinata confirmed and the former adding a host of new single player levels. Top stuff.

In all, I would've liked to see some 360 price cuts solidified but there's still time and I don't think Microsoft is out of tricks yet...

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Xbox 360 UK

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