To those of you who saw the leaked new Xbox ad and cried fake, commiserations. To those of you who put your scepticism to one side, congratulations!
Microsoft has today confirmed both the slim line Xbox, remarkably dubbed the "new Xbox 360" (yes, really). It has also said Kinect (the new name for Project Natal) will launch on 4 November, cost $149 and have 15 titles at launch.
Back to the 'New Xbox 360' (it's going to get old typing that fast) and we learn it isn't really that skinny at all, instead it is about 15 per cent smaller in overall volume which is probably more practical anyway. A black gloss finish replaces the matt finish on the original which is a depressing step backwards (keep your duster handy), but at least the power supply is now lighter, if not much reduced in size.
On top of this - as the leaked ad said - you'll find integrated 802.11n WiFi and a 250GB HDD which isn't backwards compatible with old Xbox drives meaning you'll need a cable or great patience with a USB key to get your old Xbox data across. Furthermore there are now five USB ports (two on the front, three in the back). One of these is a dedicated Kinect port that has more power, but it can't be that much more or older Xbox 360s would not be compatible, current Xboxes will require a separate power adaptor. (Thanks all)
Importantly the new Xbox is much quieter in operation, though there are no reports of how loud the DVD drive is. It also runs much cooler thanks to the swap to a 45nm integrated CPU and GPU and the use of one large slow spinning fan in place of two small fast ones. Superficially the new Xbox has touch sensitive on/off and eject buttons like the PS3 (I prefer physical buttons personally) and the new controllers have chrome Xbox buttons with an Xbox logo on the back and more angular shoulder buttons.
The new Xbox 360 is shipping immediately in the US for $299 (£202) with Europe not getting ours until nearly a month later on 16 July (no GBP/euro pricing as yet). Old model Xboxes will be phased out and Microsoft confirmed production of them has stopped with further new Xbox 360 variations due soon.
All-in-all it's a practical, if not overly inspiring upgrade and one which is definitely welcome.
Update: The UK RRP looks set to be £200 (£199.99), expect cheaper variants (and probably a new replacement for the Elite fairly soon)
Link: Xbox E3 Videos