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Microsoft Unveils 60 GB Xbox 360, Axes 20 GB Model

The 60 GB version of the Xbox 360 will hit stores in the U.S. and Canada starting in early August.
Microsoft on Sunday introduced a new addition to its line of Xbox 360 video game consoles -- a model that features 60 GB of storage and a $349 price tag.

"We know that consumers need more and more space" to store the growing array of content available for the Xbox, said Xbox director of product management Albert Penello, in a statement. Increasingly, Microsoft is positioning the Xbox not just as a games console, but as a platform for launching music and a high definition video content.

The 60 GB version of the Xbox 360 will hit stores in the U.S. and Canada starting in early August. It replaces a 20 GB version, which also sold for $349. Microsoft said it would continue to sell the 20 GB version while supplies last at a reduced price of $299.

Microsoft is looking to maintain recent Xbox sales' momentum in the face of stiff competition from Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii unit. The 40 GB PlayStation 3 sells for $399, while the Nintendo Wii sells for $250.

In its most recent quarter, Microsoft reported that Xbox 360 total console sales surpassed 19 million during the period, up 74% from the previous year.

Recent releases of hot-selling game titles, including Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV, have helped spur Xbox 360 sales. Halo 3, an Xbox 360 exclusive, smashed numerous game industry sales records when it debuted late last year -- including most launch day sales.

Among the upcoming titles that Microsoft is counting on to further grow Xbox 360 sales is Rock Band 2, which is slated for release in September. The game lets players perform popular songs by using an array of virtual instruments.

Reports have also suggested that Microsoft is developing a Wii-style motion controller for the Xbox. Microsoft has not commented.

Last year, Microsoft took a $1.06 billion charge against earnings to cover the cost of fixing a widespread hardware problem that caused Xbox 360 units to lock up. Microsoft says it has rectified the problem.

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