XBox 360: Too Expensive?

About a week ago, the official price for the upcoming next-gen console Xbox 360 was officially announced. As there were speculation that there would be packaging options, sure enough Microsoft pulled through with that and announced that they are offering two versions of the Xbox 360 for sale come this holiday season. They announced, also, that the premium package that comes with everything will be sold at a whopping $399 while the stripped down version, or the core version, will be sold at the regular $299.

There were rumors that Microsoft’s new baby would be a bit expensive and there were counter-rumors saying that a price tag of over $299 (which is the traditional price for a new console) would be suicide for the huge corporation. Before everyone runs to the nearest game store to riot the $100 increase in price, you should break down what’s included in the Premium package to see if the extra $100 is worth it.

According to Microsoft, here is what will be included in the Premium package:
Xbox 360
20 GB hard-drive
wireless controller
faceplate
headset
component HD AV cable
Ethernet cable
remote controller (limited time only)

The Core package will include the following:
Xbox 360
wired controller
standard AV cable

Compared the Core package, the Premium package looks like it’s on steroids. The intention of the Premium package is for the hardcore gamers whereas the Core package is meant to be a means to bring in non-Xbox gamers. As they try out the Xbox 360, they’re supposed to upgrade and buy the parts that weren’t included later at their own pace. At least, this was Microsoft’s intention. The Premium package, as seen with what comes in it, is ready not only for the hard core gamer, but also the rich gamer because it assumes that they have a HD TV ready. For those that still have a standard TV still, don’t fret because the cables that come with the Premium are interchangeable with standard and HD.

The big question still remains, is the Premium package worth an extra $100? We’ve already broken down what you get extra, but to really analyze the situation, you have to have the prices for which the individual components will sell for. Will you end up saving only 10 cents like you do at McDonald’s if you get their value meal or will you end up saving more?

The 20 GB hard-drive, which is a must for almost any gamer and pretty much a huge factor as to why the Xbox was so successful, is worth $100 on its own. Now, for those getting the Core system, they are getting shafted in more than one way. First, they have to either buy the hard-drive or spend another $40 dollars on a memory card that just won’t hold as much. If that wasn’t bad enough, they won’t be able to play Xbox games on them because it was announced that in order to have backwards capability, the Xbox 360 will require the hard-drive. So, if you have the Xbox and are just waiting to upgrade, this should be enough for you to go ahead and fork over the extra $100. But, if you’re still not sold, read on.

The wireless controller that the Premium package includes will be sold at $40 a piece on its own. That’s a $10 increase from the standard controllers that were available for the regular Xbox. Sure, you get the wired controller, but if you were thinking about getting the wireless, you’re going to shell over another Benji. So, if you were going to get the hard-drive and the wireless controller, you already save $40. Still not sold? Read on.

The headset, which is really for the hardcore gamer, sells for another $20. Sure, you may not use Xbox Live, but were you planning on using it in the future? If yes, you gotta fork over more money. Like DVDs? The remote will sell for another $30. Already, the total saved is $90, $130 if you were planning on getting a memory card too.

So, is the Premium package worth it? Yes, most definitely. Compared to the Core package, you’re really ripping yourself off if you pass up the Premium package. Now that that question is answered, the bigger question then becomes: Is the Premium package worth $400? Is it expensive? Yes, in my opinion it is very expensive. But then, the cost to produce games has become more expensive (games are now expected to sell at $60) and it’s partly the gamers fault. Why, you may ask? Simple, as gamers, we want more and better. In the real world, better means more money. As gamers keep asking for more and more, the companies keep pushing themselves to utilize and invent better technology to meet the ravenous cries of gamers world wide. And as technology goes, anything cutting edge is going to take a chunk out of your wallet.

If this doesn’t sound too good and you’ve suddenly become a Sony convert, then think about this: it is rumored that Sony will be selling their hard-drive separately too. Time to get a second job folks.

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