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Aug 20, 2005

Comments

1.

Just choose to look at the $299 version as the cheap version and the $399 version as the normal version. $100 is less than the cost of 2 games. It's hardly THAT big a financial issue for those of us likely to be reading Terranova (ie employed adults).

Let's also look at the features you lose on the $299 version and see if any of them are actually next generation features:

1. Harddrive. Nope. Xbox had it. And developers didn't use it. Developers still won't be using it much.

2. Wireless controllers. Nope, existing consoles have those.

3. HD connections. Nope, existing consoles have those. Hell, if the 360 was actually interested in next-gen support, it'd be sporting digital output options and would support 1080p instead of just analog connections carrying 720p or 1080i. Where is our HDMI/1080p output?

4. Remote control. Nope. Existing consoles have those.

And of course, you can simply choose to buy some of these later. I bought a Wavebird for my Gamecube, for instance, though it didn't ship with one. I also bought an HD connector for my Xbox, though it didn't ship with one. The point is that none of these options have much to do with "next gen" given that all of them are available on existing consoles.

--matt

2.

I agree with most of that but it's clear that hard drives won't be considered part of next-gen tech on any platform. Which is tragic for a lot of reasons.

It's not entirely true that developers did not use the hard drive... as a colleague who used to work at MS mentioned, every single developer who signed an agreement to exclusively license their game on the XBox used it extensively. And, it's not quite coincidental that those who did employ the HD ended up on the who's who list of great Xbox games: KOTOR, the Halos, Fable, Jade Empire.

Worse, though, is that many curious Xbox owners found ways of utilizing their HD in ways never intended. To me, that's what made it so superior to the PS2, which has good content, but isn't much of a serviceable device other than its original designed purposes.

But I understand the financials and the decision... so much money to be made on those infernal memory cards. Funny that whatever money the consumer thinks he saves on the HD will be made up in secondary costs on those cards, and then some. I for one will plunk down the cash, for no other reason than I hate memory cards and love that functionality of the HD.

3.


What Microsoft press release have you been reading? Xbox has clear domainace in titles?

Oh I get it, you mean Halo and Halo 2?

At least these two should all be "backward compatabile" for the 360. Don't know about those other titles you're alluding too.

Save your $100, go with the cheap one. I don't use the hard drive or the remote control that I have with my xbox now. And use that $100 to get a PS3 too.

4.

Save your $100, go with the cheap one. I don't use the hard drive or the remote control that I have with my xbox now. And use that $100 to get a PS3 too.

Sorry, but I gotta go with the guys at Penny Arcade with this. The no-HD version is for suckers. You'll end spending at least another $40 dollars for a memory card. Much more if you want more memory, which will never equal to the cost effectiveness of the hard drive version.

And don't think the PS3's going to be any cheaper. I think $399 is going to be the new price point for the next gen systems, maybe exempting the Nintendo Revolution.

5.

Definitly a biased review, I am kind of ashamed to see something like this posted on TN. In anyevent, IMHO most peeps here are two to four years behind the curve anyway. This is just another data point that proves me right.

Oh, by the way, the HD is required for backwards compatibility.

Xbox 360 System Performance Specifications
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox360/factsheet.htm

6.

Er, Rich, it's not a review. Just a comment. What are your views on the pricing tiers?

7.

From a Terranovan point of view, optional disk is lame--how can you have persistence (of any kind) if you can't cache anything locally? It makes it harder, at least.

There's the question of how much it'll break the market--hopefully they'll fold it back into the main package once it's cheap enough, and so it's only the cheap early adopters (a bit of a contradiction, maybe?) who get screwed.

8.

How offensive. Speaking for myself, I am not "2-4 years behind". I am still in 1984.

9.

I assumed and X-Box was a new holder for my VIC-20 cartridges.

Nurse is it time for my sponge bath now.

10.

I am totaly biased on the pricing because I am a share holder. I think MSFT is making the smart play in that they have the jump on PS3. Also, I think they were very smart to offer two SKUs to help reduce the bleeding, and even smarter to rope in the in the 3rd party equipment manufacturers.

11.

Oh, as for the 2 to 4 years comment...

Spend some time at Best Buy and lurk arround the video game area and listen in on the peeps in the blue shrits answering customer's questions.

There has been quite a shift in the past 2 years, and this post rings the tone of what "used" to be said.

Also, is it true that PS3 is slipping a year? I just heard that yesterday. If that is true, I think that underscores things quite a bit. If not, then may the best console win. My money is on Microsoft.

12.

Rich, read around a little: you'll see that a lot of people don't think that the two-tier price is a good idea, from a variety of standpoints. (It may confuse consumers; it will complicate the development of games for the 360; the top-tier 360 is still lacking important next-gen features like HDMI, as Matt notes). I agree that the general buzz on Xbox as a platform is more positive than it once was, which is what I'm alluding to when I talk about titles: with the exception of GTA, what PS-exclusive title has created a lot of buzz in the last year? Compare with Xbox, which has had a lot of platform-exclusive titles that have created hubbub, not just Halo/Halo2.

Plus look at Xbox Live compared with multiplayer support for PS2.

In the context of the console wars, probably getting Xbox 360 out the door before the PS3 is far more important than the pricing tiers, but only if the 360 comes out with a couple of titles that help to sell the machine. That's definitely one thing past console launches have demonstrated: the titles at launch do a lot to establish the platform.

13.

I have not done much reading on what others think, but I like to remain open minded in that there is a huge pradigm shift taking place. Well, maybe not so huge, because the 8-bit Nintendo had 3 teirs once apon a time. But, anyway, I have known for may months that they were kicking arround the idea having between two or three different teirs for the console. And during that time I waffeled over the idea of it, and in the end, I think it is a smarter business descision to have more options, specifically because it helps control the losses on the console sales. I also think consumers like choice. I cant comment on the HDMI.

Am I going to buy one in Nov? Probably not, but once I get an HDTV, I will and the definitive reasoning for the new xbox is the bobsledding features for Media Center.

14.

Timothy Burke wrote:

with the exception of GTA, what PS-exclusive title has created a lot of buzz in the last year?

That's a pretty big exception considering it was the top selling game last year. It's also not PS-exclusive. I've been playing it on my Xbox as it looks somewhat nicer there than on the PS2.

Beyond that though, God of War is the only PS2-exclusive that made me tempted to go out and buy a PS2. On the other hand, aside from the Halos, KOTOR, and Ninja Gaiden there aren't really any Xbox-exclusive games that I'm all that impressed with either (I thought Fable and Jade Empire were both very mediocre efforts.)

I'd guess the situation is different in Japan too, where there are likely all sorts of PS2-exclusive games we're not familiar with that are popular.

To me as a console fan, Xbox Live is what matters. Sony is incredibly far behind the curve there.

--matt

15.

God of War, yeah, I forgot about that. Katamari Damacy too, I guess. But it does seem to me that Xbox has a superior and more buzz-generating library of titles at this point in the history of the two consoles.

Actually that might make an interesting post, to sit down and work through a history of buzzy titles for all three platforms.

16.

Hmm, I dunno. I think it's pretty equal, with PS2 maybe even getting the advantage over time (ICO, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, etc).

In any case, all I know is that as a fanbois, I can't wait for the Xbox 360. *dance*

--matt

17.

Hi guys, new here but I like the site. Basically, despite what they say, this is a business decision - Microsoft cannot afford to lose as much money on the 360 as they did on the xbox 1. It also conveniently fits the 360 philosophy of personalization and choice.

Essentially, the two sku strategy gives Microsoft some flexibility and ability to adapt to the market. Allard has said they may add or change the sku's in the future.

However, hints of this could have been seen in the basic design when it was revealed last May. Why have a detachable HD if you have to have it installed to play games? It implies that the HD won't always be there. If the HD doesn't have to be there, than it follows a unit should be sold without one for a lesser price. So, bottom line, this hardware was designed for a 2 sku strategy. Microsoft is most likely following a strategy they decided on a year ago or more.

18.

J Allard chat transcript that addresses the hardware price points, etc.

19.

Little late getting in on this conversation, but I'm apparently one of the few who believes Microsoft made a good decision launching with two skus.

I doubt the '360' sku with hard drive included, will be offered for long. Launching with this sku lets the initial buyers feel as though they are getting a good buy for $400. I don't doubt Microsoft realizes that few people will be purchasing the $300 version at launch, but I don't think the $300 is necessarily built for launch.

8 months after launch, the PS3 will launch, with no hard drive, rumored to be around $400. Comparing the two systems, Microsoft with probably near a 70 game lineup at a cheaper price point for the core system (one closest in comparison to Sony's presumed launch package) by $100 and accessories launching most likely at roughly the same price, they'll win some hearts. Especially when people match the graphics on these two systems side by side and see that the developers aren't creating different versions of cross platform games for each system.

Even if Microsoft were to lower the 360 Core price to compete with the launch of the PS3 to $250, those purchasers of the launch 360 bundle wouldn't feel nearly as alienated knowing they also recevied an additional $230 in accessories with their $400 system.

I really think it was a smart move on Microsoft's part if played correctly, but I don't think the move can really be judged until the PS3 launches.

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