The Price Of Fun

You wanna play, you gotta pay ...

At some point today you will probably stumble across a news item regarding the just-revealed price of the shiny new Xbox 360. Maybe you click on it when you are surfing for news, maybe you hear it as a filler snippet on a radio newscast, who knows. If the Microsoft spin doctors have been successful in their latest campaign of disinformation, you will be come away with the impression that the 360 is going to sell for $299 U.S. What you might not hear is that the new machine is going to come in two flavours: the Xbox 360 Core System - which will sell for the advertised $299 - and the Xbox 360 which will sell for $399 U.S.

The difference? The "Core System" doesn't include wireless controllers, a headset, a hard drive , hi-def A/V cables, the DVD player functions, or the ethernet cable* - all of which is packed in with the $399 version. In other words, the "Core System" has virtually none of the hot-buzz functions that Microsoft is using to sell the system. All of the talk and hype about being wireless, being online, being hi-def out of the box ... none of that applies to the "Core System". More distressingly, all of the games that have been announced for the new 'box require the hard drive. And while we may see the release of some simpler games that don't require the drive - FreeCell, anyone? - there is no way to play the first-generation Xbox game library on the new box without it. In other words, with the current development lineup, the number of games that you could play on the "Core System" at launch is exactly zero.

The entire gestalt here is best summed up by a quote in this article ... "only a complete idiot would by the $299 model."

Amen, brother, amen,

Posted: Fri - August 19, 2005 at 08:13 AM