Microsoft will be abandoning the glossy outer shell on select Xbox 360 consoles in favor of a black matte finish. The announcement was made official on the blog of Major Nelson, director of programming for Xbox Live. Microsoft's gaming console is currently available in two flavors: a 250GB unit with a glossy finish and a 4GB model featuring a matte black surface.

Nelson used the opportunity to debunk a rumor that had been circulating leading up to the announcement. Microsoft will not continue to manufacture the glossy 360 alongside the new matte-finish system.

This doesn't affect the development of special edition consoles, however. The limited edition Gears of War 3 console and the Star Wars console were cited as two examples of upcoming glossy console bundles.

The transition has already started and new consoles will be available in the coming weeks. If you have your heart set on a glossy system, now is the time to pull the trigger before they are permanently pulled from store shelves.

No official reason was given for the change, but one could speculate that it's not cost-efficient to manufacture two different outer shells for what is otherwise an identical product. The hard drive capacity is the only difference between current 250GB and 4GB models.

Microsoft redesigned and announced a new Xbox 360 at E3 2010. The slim console uses a 45nm SoC called "Vejle" that crams a CPU and GPU onto one piece of silicon. It has 372m transistors, is 50% smaller and draws 60% less power than the original 360's 90nm CPU/GPU combo.