The Xbox, Microsoft's original game console, debuted in the United States in 2001 and was succeeded by the Xbox 360 in 2005. The Nintendo Wii was introduced in September 2006. Both consoles are DVD based and offer integrated Internet connectivity, giving players the opportunity to game with friends online.
The Xbox 360 has gone through several reconfigurations since its original release. As of 2011, the current configuration is the Xbox 360 S, which Microsoft released in July 2010. The Xbox 360 S features the XCGPU-integrated processor, has touch-sensitive buttons, component video out and five USB ports, and comes in 4- and 250-gigabyte hard drive configurations. Nintendo does not publicly release technical specifications of the Wii hardware. As of 2011, the Wii console supports composite video out and S-video out, and has two USB ports.
Measuring 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.95 inches deep with stand, and weighing 3.84 lbs., the Nintendo Wii has a smaller footprint than the current generation of Xbox 360, which measures 10.6 inches long, 10.4 inches wide and 3 inches deep, and weighs 6.4 lbs.
As of 2011, the Nintendo Wii has a suggested retail price of $199. The 4GB Xbox 360 S has a suggested retail price of $199 while the 250GB Xbox 360 S has a retail price of $299.
In 2010, Microsoft enabled expanded storage support on the Xbox 360 S via USB, replacing the previous proprietary Memory Unit system. Storage can be augmented via USB storage, but the console only supports up to 16GB of usable storage per external drive, regardless of actual physical capacity. The Nintendo Wii can read data from GameCube memory cards as well as SD memory cards.
The Xbox 360 debuted with controls that were similar to the original Xbox hand-held controller, with its directional pad, analog sticks and various buttons. The Wii debuted with a motion-activated control, called the Wii Remote. This wireless hand-held controller allows a user to control game play using movement but requires that user to hold onto the Wii Remote at all times. In late 2010, Xbox 360 S debuted a new controller called the Kinect, which allows the player to control game play through body movements alone, forgoing the use of a hand-held controller.
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