Just in time for its mega showdown with the PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox officials said Monday they will update the Xbox Live system, which should keep it fresh for the fight next month. The update to Live, the sixth for the online service, will feature video playback in full high-definition 1080p, instead of the original 720; a quicker Live Arcade interface; and the ability to stream video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect.
The increased video output to 1080p allows games that are created at the highest definition to get full output on the Xbox 360. That's important because the PlayStation 3, due out on Nov. 17, will come with 1080p and already has games lined up that can take advantage of that. The move was also necessary as Xbox gets ready to release its high-definition DVD player, the HD DVD drive.
One thing that will not change is the price of the Xbox 360 console, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Some analysts had speculated that Microsoft might try to undercut the cost of the PS3 even more by lowering prices, but with the PS3 already pretty expensive, Xbox officials apparently feel they're offering a good value.
By standing pat, the company can also reap more revenue for the Xbox, which is still not making money for Microsoft. While component parts and manufacturing costs are still coming down, it will take a while before the Xbox business breaks even.
I'm rooting for sony to win 3 times in a row.