Surprise! Microsoft from out of nowhere has announced that they will be offering a new 500GB replacement hard drive for the Xbox 360 slim and E models. The best part of the news is that the 500GB replacement drive is $20 cheaper than the 320GB hard drive currently offered.
While we don’t yet have a release date for the 500GB add-on hard drive, we suspect that unlike the current 320GB hard drive offered by Microsoft currently, the 500GB will not likely include the bundled games that Microsoft was throwing in with the 320GB model. It is also unlikely that the 500GB hard drive will include a transfer cable for those who need to upgrade. The dual use (works with both the old and new hard drives) hard drive transfer cable continues to be available, but sold separately.
The move comes as Sony is set to standardize on a 500GB hard drive with the latest version of the PlayStation 3 that they are preparing to unveil in Japan. Once Sony works through what PS3 inventory is left, the new model with the 500GB drive will be the standard. Given this news, it is understandable that Microsoft would also want to offer a 500GB hard drive for the Xbox 360 as well.
It is unknown if Microsoft will move to condense the Xbox 360 offerings this holiday season or they will continue to offer a cheaper 4GB flash drive option without a hard drive, as well as with or without Kinect. No matter how this ends up, the news that Microsoft will be offering a 500GB drive is good news for those who need the space on their Xbox 360.
When it is released in North America, it is expected that the 500GB hard drive will retail for $109.99 according to our sources.