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Why Consumers Don't Want a New Xbox 360; Why I Need Another Xbox 360
editorial
game: Xbox 360 Elite
posted by: Chris Martin
publisher: Microsoft
platform:
date posted: 12:06 PM Wed Apr 4th, 2007
last revision: 11:58 AM Fri Apr 6th, 2007



Click to read.Microsoft said that twenty gigabytes was enough, but now they've changed their minds. Apparently one hundred twenty is enough, at least for now. That and HDMI, which I haven't the means to implement. The black color is neat, but I say that in the way I think Coco Crispies are neat, a few minutes later they're just a bunch of chocolate-dye in milk. We asked for a price drop, and they're giving us a more expensive Xbox 360? They're no longer giving us what we asked for, they're telling us what we need.

I will not pick up the new Xbox 360 Elite even though my own trouble with their system has resulted in my precious xbox freezing frequently, my cherished games unplayable. I am going to buy the hard-drive free version for one hundred seventy-five dollars less, and maybe pick up the newly released Guitar Hero II while I'm at it ($90 USD). I am a consumer, but I am not "keeping up" with the Johnsons here. I am within Microsoft's target demographic - twenty four years old, casual with a hardcore gamer's love for games, some money coming in on my tax return. I love my Xbox 360, but for the reason that it isn't a PlayStation 3, it isn't that expensive. This new Xbox SKU has made the height difference between the titans a lot closer.

This new Xbox 360 looks like it had been dipped in chocolate, and Microsoft wishes, perhaps, for you to think of it this way. It is packed with more than the original 360 such as HDMI and a larger hard drive merely for the satisfaction of having it. It is meant for the richest of the rich, in the same way Sony's PlayStation 3 is meant for those with the money to afford it - let's not kid ourselves that the $499 version is a steal, because it's not. Neither shall we muse that Microsoft and Sony's gaming has become accessible and affordable, because it hasn't. And it will only get worse.

The future: I shudder to think what ineffable electronic box will replace the current standard for video games. Will it cook your meals while you download entire films before they're released while simultaneously browsing your stock options and putting you in touch with a dentist?

My current Xbox 360 is colored by the wonderful people at Llamma.com. And you can check out some of the pictures of it below. I won it last year at the Penny-Arcade Expo playing Rockstar Presents Table Tennis in a six to seven hour tournament.

When my Xbox 360 started freezing, I thought it was merely because I was playing Oblivion. I had heard there were some cache clearing problems, and thought little more than a trifle of it. But when it started freezing in Gears of War, Viva Pinata, and Rainbow Six Vegas, I felt that a part of me was no longer functioning correctly, like losing a hand I did everything with - a one-of-a kind, modified hand. The box began to freeze more frequently and now it is nearly unplayable for more than an hour (and if I were to continue playing, it would freeze at the 40 minute mark, then the 30).

And now they're releasing a new SKU far too close to Sony's lowest priced PlayStation 3. Gamers will not forget this boorish move as quickly as Microsoft would hope, considering that the average gamer is not asking for more expensive equipment, but more reasonably price equipment. This, perhaps, is the biggest mistake they have made since the launch of the Xbox 360. And I mean it above all their crashing and bricking systems. Microsoft needs to be beating Sony with their price differential while maintaining that their platform can perform as well or better than the PS3. Not bringing the two systems closer together. If they start to compete with Sony straight up in price and features, they will likely lose many gamers that are already convinced the PS3 is incredibly potent hardware, and who have been holding out because of the price. Microsoft would have better luck moving down to offer a high-end competition with the Nintendo Wii, not moving up to offer a low-end competition for the PS3.

Microsoft needs to stop straddling the line of high definition. Either go one way or the other. Include HD-DVD and make it a cheaper add on, or forget about trying to convert into another PS3, and settle on a place between Nintendo and Sony.


-Chris

(EDIT: Although I am always weary (and worn out) from analysts throwing in their one-and-a-half cents. I found one that seems to confirm my fears, that Microsoft is only trying to sway fence-sitters and not to expand their market share with the new Elite SKU.)

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