After a series of retail leaks, this isn't exactly a surprise. Microsoft today officially announced that the Xbox 360 Core system is set to be replaced by the long-rumored Xbox 360 Arcade at the same price point of $279.99, marking the latest in a series of efforts from major console makers as they gear up for the holiday buying season.

Confirming previous reports, the Xbox 360 Arcade features an HDMI port and ships with one wireless controller and a 256MB memory card - which is highly useful as the Arcade does not feature a HDD. It also comes with five full-version games: Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition and Uno.

Mirroring Nintendo's strategy of targeting the sub-$300 market and appealing to families, Microsoft announced the release of new "family-oriented programming" on the Xbox Live , signing agreements with several movie studios to bolster its library of downloadable videos with more than 100 episodes from Nickelodeon TV and Warner Bros. for purchase on the Xbox Live marketplace.