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Xbox 360 Bundles Have Gamers Throwing Fits
posted by: Shawn Rider
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date posted: 09:30 AM Wed Aug 24th, 2005
last revision: 09:30 AM Wed Aug 24th, 2005

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Click to read.EB Games has revealed their Xbox 360 preorder bundles, and that is bad news for most gamers. Microsoft already sent a shock through the gaming world by announcing that they would release to separate versions of the 360: The \"core\" version will cost $299 and will come with one wired controller and no hard drive. The \"ultimate\" version will cost $399 and come with one wireless controller and a 20GB removable hard drive.

This hardware difference has gamers scratching their heads about which system to purchase, especially given that Microsoft has already stated that backwards compatibility with original Xbox games would require a hard drive. Other developers, such as Bethesda, who is hard at work on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, have said that their games will use the hard drive but will also be compatible with Xbox 360s without the hard drive. This, of course, begs the question, \"What good is the hard drive aside from backwards compatibility?\"

To throw some gasoline on the fire, the EB Games preorder page is offering two bundles: The \"core\" bundle will ratchet up the cost of the basic system to $599, and the \"ultimate\" bundle will cost $699. Each bundle includes an extra controller (and extra wireless contoller charger and battery pack in the case of the \"ultimate\" bundle), as well as four games: Perfect Dark Limited Edition, Kameo: Elements of Power, Dead or Alive 4, and Project Gotham Racing 3.

At these prices, we are pretty sure that the number of parents putting out for the big Xbox 360 holiday will be severely reduced, and many of them will likely opt for the PSP or Nintendo DS instead -- it\'s a classic case of \"overbundle.\" Adding $300 beyond the cost of the console is clearly too much to ask from gamers (and that\'s not even including the cost of subscribing to Xbox Live and setting up your Xbox on a home WiFi network, which are likely expenses for many Xbox fans).

On the other hand, since game-specific retailers tend to be the worst about bundling and \"up-selling\" new hardware, we may see an effect similar to the retail effect witnessed with the PSP launch, where many game-specific retailers found themselves with plenty of overstock, but outlets like Wal-Mart and Target were selling out of the new hardware. This is a good reason to go out and make friends at your local, non-franchise videogame store. And if you don\'t have one of those, then maybe it\'s time to start staking out a campsite in your local Wal-Mart parking lot.

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