LOS ANGELES — Microsoft shocked the world today with news that a new Xbox 360 model will be hitting retailer shelves later this week. In closing a truly blow-away E3 press event featuring a host of amazing Kinect announcements, incredible Halo and Gears presentations, ESPN integration, and more, Microsoft revealed that it already began shipping the hardware update consumers have been frothing for over the last few years.

The new model is smaller, “whisper quiet” (noise with the existing models is a huge issue), includes state-of-the art Wireless-N technology, and houses a 250 GB hard drive — all for the same $299 the existing Elite model costs with only a 120 GB drive and no wireless capabilities. Obviously, they are trying to make friends before Kinect ships Nov. 4 and the Move/Kinect Wars officially begin, but they have succeeded in this case.

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