In addition to restricting the type of games played, Xbox 360 will soon be able to limit the total number of hours played by younger gamers.

"As the customer base broadens, the demand for these kinds of capabilities does increase," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division.

Not unlike a similar feature found in Microsoft's Windows Vista operation system, the new timer will grant care-takers the ability to restrict total hours played on either a daily or weekly basis. Once the time limit is reached, the console will automatically turn off.

According to Bach, a restriction timer was the number-one most desired feature by parents in a recent study conducted by Microsoft.

News of an Xbox 360 timer was first rumoured in early September.