Xbox Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Xbox

The Xbox 360 gaming console was released in 2005. Although the console has changed much since its debut, it still remains one of the most popular video game consoles today. With a sleek new look and many new features, it's helpful to get some guidance on which Xbox 360 console to buy.

>> Consider the different Xbox models

When deciding which Xbox 360 console to buy, there are many different models of the Xbox 360 to choose from. Older-model consoles are no longer available to purchase brand new. The current S-models have identical Xbox 360 console designs but come with slightly different options. The following Xbox 360 consoles comparison shows these differences. If you're wondering which Xbox 360 console to buy, this chart will help with the decision.

Model WiFi-enabled? Hard drive size Kinect sensor included* Xbox 360 4GB Yes 4 GB No Xbox 360 250GB Yes 250 GB No * You can buy an Xbox 360 console with Kinect as a bundled package.
>> Consider your usage

When trying to decide which Xbox 360 console to buy, one of the most important things to take into consideration is how you plan to use your Xbox. If you simply want to play some basic video games and watch DVDs, the version with the smaller hard drive is a good choice. If you play more complex games with more life-like graphics, the model with the larger hard drive might be a better choice. If you start with the smaller hard drive and need more disk space later, you can upgrade to the larger drive.

If you plan on playing Xbox 360 Kinect games, purchase an Xbox 360 console with Kinect. If you buy a model without this feature, you can buy the Kinect sensor and accessories separately when you're ready for games that require this sensor.

>> Consider limited-edition and special bundles

As you decide which Xbox 360 console to buy, keep in mind Microsoft occasionally partners with other companies to release limited-edition bundles and accessories. Previous limited-and special-edition consoles have included those related to special game releases. There have also been NFL, movie and food-and-drink specials. These limited-edition types of Xbox 360 consoles typically include a regular Xbox with a custom skin. There have also been many limited-edition colored consoles, controllers, accessories and many different types of limited edition skins.

Occasionally Microsoft offers the Xbox 360 Gearfest -a special, limited-time promotion that bundles and discounts Xbox accessories at participating retailers. Some of the accessories often included in Gearfest include USB game controllers, play and charge bundles, hard drives, and headsets.

>> Consider games and accessories

Once you determine which Xbox 360 console to buy, also consider games and video game accessories. Some types of Xbox 360 console might come packaged with one or two popular games (or a trial copy of a game), and almost all types of Xbox 360 console come with one controller. However, additional accessories enhance your playing experience:

• Wireless controllers
• The Kinect sensor
• Charge-and-play kits
• Headsets and microphones for group play
• A wide selection of cables and networking equipment.

A huge selection of Xbox 360 games is available. There are games to suit all age groups, playing styles and game preferences. Whether you want to play a sports game, a fighting game, a first-person-shooter, a battlefield simulation or a fantasy-type game, the Xbox 360 has literally hundreds of games to choose from. Of course, third parties are always creating new releases of Xbox 360 games.

>> Consider other features and options

When deciding which Xbox 360 console to buy, consider whether you'll make use of some of the additional features and options available with the Xbox. For example, if you plan on playing online with friends or downloading digital content, you'll use the Xbox LIVE service. Currently, there are two levels of membership:

• Xbox LIVE Silver -available free of charge to anyone who owns an Xbox 360. You can send and receive messages from members already online, download system and game updates and shop for premium content.
• Xbox LIVE Gold -a subscription service that lets you play games online with friends, enter tournaments, engage in video chat, tailor matchmaking through feedback, plus get access to special "members only" content not available to Silver members.
An Xbox 360 console with Kinect expands your selection of games. The Kinect is an additional piece of hardware that you can buy bundled with the Xbox 360 console or separately. The Kinect system includes a wide-angled camera positioned either at the top of bottom of your TV. This camera tracks voices and movements, so you can play Xbox 360 Kinect games that simulate physical actions, such as hitting a golf club or swinging a tennis racket.

If you need hard drive storage above what the internal hard drive offers, you can buy an external hard drive. The Xbox 360 uses a special file format, and pre-formatted hard drives that work with all Xbox 360 console designs will ensure that you can store your increasing game and movie collections conveniently. >> Think about upgrading your Xbox Transferring data

If you upgrade from an older Xbox 360 design to the current one, you'll want to transfer your data to the new console. The simplest way to transfer a large amount of data between Xbox 360 consoles is with the official Xbox 360 Hard Drive Transfer Cable. Make sure that if you are purchasing these cables second-hand or on sites such as eBay and Craigslist, you are certain that they are the Microsoft brand. They will be grey, say "Microsoft" on the plastic, and the serial sticker will have "Xbox 360" trademarked on it.

If you prefer not to buy this cable, you can use a USB flash drive for all types of Xbox 360 consoles. (Older consoles must have the Spring 2010 update or later in order to use flash drives.) A flash drive allows you to take your games, game saves and gamertags to another Xbox 360 console. The Xbox 360 uses a special file format, and pre-formatted flash drives that work with all Xbox 360 console designs are available. You can also purchase any generic USB flash drive (up to 32 GB currently) and use the Xbox itself to format the drive. The current Xbox 360 has two USB ports that recognize flash drives, so you can connect two of them at the same time, for a total of 64 GB.

Transferring licenses

After you transfer your data to a new console, some content might still be associated with your old Xbox 360 console. You'll still be able to play the content on your new console as long as you're signed in to Xbox LIVE, and you use the gamertag that you originally purchased the content with. If you want to use all of your transferred content without connecting your Xbox to Xbox LIVE or with a different gamertag, you'll need to transfer the content licenses to your new console by signing in to your Xbox LIVE account and performing the license transfer from there.

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