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Xbox 360s giving up gloss for matte finish

Microsoft says that consumers who want the glossy-black finish on the Xbox 360 better act soon. The company is moving toward giving all its Xbox 360 S consoles a matte finish.

So long, glossy Xbox 360.
So long, glossy Xbox 360. Microsoft

Microsoft's glossy-black Xbox 360 has been discontinued in favor of a matte finish, the company has confirmed.

"We are actively transitioning all our Xbox 360 S consoles to a matte finish," Larry Hryb, Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live, wrote on his blog Friday.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360 S last year at the E3 gaming expo. The company currently sells the glossy 250GB version for $299. The 4GB model, which retails for $199.99, already boasts a black matte finish that, Hryb says, the 250GB offering will also get.

Opinions vary over the value of a glossy device. Some like the sleek look, while others can't stand its tendency to show fingerprints and smudges. Prior to the launch of the Xbox 360 S, Microsoft offered white and black matte finishes on its console.

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By transitioning to a matte finish, Microsoft is following a move Sony has already made. That company's first-generation PlayStation 3 featured a glossy finish that attracted fingerprints. However, the company's slim-line version, which it launched a couple of years ago, dropped the glossy finish to avoid that problem.

Even so, Hryb acknowledged that some folks do like the Xbox 360's glossy finish, and warned those people that they should not "wait much longer" to get their hands on the device. The console with matte finish will be arriving on store shelves "over the coming weeks," said Hryb, who's known as Xbox Live's Major Nelson.

However, Microsoft did note earlier that the shiny consoles will be making an appearance as part of the Limited Edition Gears of War 3 and Star Wars bundles. The Gears of War option is scheduled to hit store shelves on September 20 for $399, while the Star Wars version is expected later this year for $449.

Microsoft's transition comes at a good time for the company's hardware business. Last week, research firm NPD released July U.S. game industry sales, and found that the Xbox 360 once again led the way in total console sales with 277,000 units sold. Microsoft's console has led unit sales in 13 of the last 14 months.