THE Xbox 360 came out Tuesday, and the consensus is in: The latest video game console from Microsoft has impressive graphics, cool wireless controllers, online and multimedia capabilities -- and a hefty price tag. Though there is a basic $300 version, many reviewers say the only one worth buying is the "deluxe" $400 version. Or better yet, wait until next year and comparison-shop when Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Revolution arrive.
On message boards at sites such as gamespot.com, ign.com and xbox.com, the reaction from gamers who got their hands on a 360 has been mixed, with some singing its praises and others disappointed about games freezing and the console generating too much heat and noise.
Here are excerpts of what reviewers are saying.
Los Angeles Times
Three super-fast processors and 512 megabytes of RAM equip Xbox 360 with unrivaled power to render lifelike graphics.
The Xbox 360's redesigned controllers fit in the hands better than previous versions, which always felt too big and clunky. And a rechargeable wireless controller, included in the deluxe package, is liberating.
So what's not to like? For starters, the price: $400 might be too much for some.
Although the 360 offers the ability to rip and store music, movies and photos, presumably to play on your TV, it's hard to imagine anyone doing something like burning a CD to the 360 when they can use iTunes.
Also, Xbox 360 isn't fully backward-compatible yet, meaning not all of the games from the previous Xbox will play.
Chris Kohler, Wired.com
It's a powerful system, but the leap in quality isn't nearly as pronounced as it was five years ago with the advent of the PlayStation 2.
Chris Morris, CNN Money
It's certainly a sleek piece of equipment.... But when it comes to must-have games, the Xbox 360 falls short. While there are several good -- and even very good -- titles that will be available at launch, there's nothing truly great.
Admittedly, tastes vary.... But if you're looking for something that's groundbreaking and sets the trend for the system (as "Halo" did with the original Xbox), you're not going to find it.
Though it's more than double the price of older consoles, there's a lot of value in the Xbox 360. In fact, it reminds me more of a PC than a video game console, just a whole lot cheaper.
San Francisco Chronicle
While Xbox 360 displayed all the playlists of songs that were in my iPod, the console could play only the music that was not purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store. In other words, the Xbox can play only traditional music files, like MP3s or the music files found on a CD.
Peter Lewis, Fortune
In the process of giving me thumb calluses while I tested new games like Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing 3, the Xbox 360 revealed itself to be the most powerful and immersing gaming console available today....
[It] falls short, ironically, in integration with other Microsoft products and services like MSN's music store and Hotmail e-mail. Perhaps that's not bad. The first time an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation tries to sneak onto my TV screen, I'm ripping out the wires.