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E3: The New Xbox 360 that isn’t Xbox One

E3: The New Xbox 360 that isn’t Xbox One
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The Xbox 360 isn’t dead yet, folks. Despite Microsoft’s announcement at E3 that the Xbox One will be released this November for a wallet-destroying $499, the gaming giant dropped an unexpected surprise for many still looking to “jump in” to the soon-to-be old generation of gaming: The Xbox 360 is getting a facelift, and an incredible loyalty package for Xbox Live users that totally sweetens the exit party.

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Spectators who came out to the Los Angeles Convention for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo perhaps didn’t expect that one of Microsoft’s first orders of business was the announcement of a “new” console that wasn’t the Xbox One. Many observers already did not appreciate Microsoft’s now infamous TV-centric Xbox One reveal, but this announcement looked to be more odd than insulting to gamers.

With a design that borrows from the Xbox One’s elements, the new Xbox 360 has received a facelift – it’s smaller, sleeker, and quieter – and that’s about it.

“There’s never been a better time to experience everything Xbox 360 has to offer.” -Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing and strategy officer at Microsoft

The “too late” to sell anymore 360s has been the topic of discussion over at the gaming community since the announcement.

The new 360 will come in multiple “value-packed editions” that are priced at $199.99 for the 4GB, $299.99 for the 250GB, and $299.99 for the 4GB Kinect Bundle edition.

The kicker came with the announcement that – not unlike PlayStation Plus – a loyalty program will reward new or existing Xbox Live Gold members with two free 360 game downloads per month starting July 1 until December 31, 2013. Next month, Gold members will be able to download Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II without shelling over the green. This month, in celebration of E3, Fable III will be available for download sans cost. Also, for a limited time, gamers can “get a Day One 12-month Xbox Live Gold membership and play “Killer Instinct: Round One,

” with the exclusive Shadow Jago character, on Xbox One. Players will also receive a commemorative Day One membership card.”

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To add to the longevity of the 360 – and to stave off its inevitable death – developer Wargaming.net announced that a new installment of “World of Tanks” will be hitting the current generation console later this year. “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition” is an online multiplayer game dedicated to tank warfare in the mid-20th century. It will be available as a Free-to-Play (F2P) title. Other titles that will come to the 360 later this year are: “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood,” and “Ascend: Hand of Kul,” another F2P game.

Also still in existence is the Summer of Arcade. This summer, gamers will be able to play “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” from Activision, “Flashback” by Ubisoft, “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons” by 505 Games, and “Charlie Murder” from Microsoft Studios.

The 360 is more than alive and well, it is expected to play host to some of the most anticipated games of this year, including: “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Battlefield 4,” “Madden NFL 25,” “FIFA 14,” “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” “Watch Dogs,” “Batman: Arkham Origins,” and “Fable Anniversary.”

The 360 leads the industry with more than 4,500 titles and 48 million Xbox Live members.

The new Xbox 360 is available now in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.