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Xbox360 - Pricing and system launch information (continued from original discussion t


Robot Monkey
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This isn't a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely curious:

 

Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?

 

ADMIN NOTE: You can read Part I of the Xbox360 discussion here:

 

http://www.lcvg.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6530&highlight=Xbox360

 

You can read Part II of the Xbox360 discussion here:

 

http://www.lcvg.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6659&highlight=Xbox360

 

You can read Part III of the Xbox360 discussion here:

 

http://www.lcvg.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6961

 

Members, please keep this new discussion area strictly to pricing, system launch date, and launch details. Any new game information should be placed in an existing game thread. If one does not exist, please create a new thread for said game. Thanks!

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This isn't a rhetorical question' date=' I'm genuinely curious:

 

Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?[/quote']I LOVE that question! It makes people have to anti-up! I think there would be less controversy, just dissapointment that it costs $100 more than people thought it would cost.

 

God, I can't wait for this thread eight months from now when Kameo, Perfect Dark, Gears of War, and Full Auto finally come out, the premium 360 has dropped $100, and the standard 360 SKU has been elimated.

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The part that sticks in my craw still is the HDD. Xbox had a built in HDD, really it was the system's saving grace IMO. Sure the processor was powerful and the graphic nice and all, but the HDD allowed new content, updates/patches to online games, essentially made Xbox Live a viable PC gaming alternative. Of course, SP games could also use the HDD to as a disc cache for games like Morrowind, Ninja Gaiden, or whatever.

 

So to get a minor bragging right of $299 launch, MS is basically forcing developers to throw the HDD out the window. How stupid, petty, and short sighted is that? Because even if only 25% of the total base buys that core system, it is highly doubtful that devs will start coding for it. Add in the bizarre comment by MS that the HDD might "not always be there" and it looks more and more like just a great big memory card.

 

So this is a huge step back for the xbox line, despite all the power/graphics increases. I just don't get not making the core system have a 10 GB drive for $329 or so and then you can always know that the consumer has HDD capability and can count on it in your plans. Because as it stands, the 80% that buy the HDD unit are being hobbled by the 20% that do not. What a great upgrade plan for your hardcore fans...

 

 

The ray of hope here is the 512 MB RAM the 360 contains as standard. Xbox only had 64 MB and was the top of this gen in that area. Maybe with 512 you can cache fast enough off the disc to have open world games sans loading times? God I hope so, cause if Oblivion pauses dead in the woods with a 15 second "loading" prompt, I might throw up all over the couch in disgust. Even still, you lose the ability to update XBL, patch a game, or have a robust modder's market without that standard HDD.

 

 

PS - I would love to see Sony drop the Blu-ray from their design, toss in a standard built-in 20 GB HDD, and sell the system with a wireless controller for $329-349 at launch. Man, would that stick it to the MS with a vengeance. Not going to happen, but I would savor seeing it.

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This isn't a rhetorical question' date=' I'm genuinely curious:

 

Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?[/quote']

 

 

Definitely. Like I said above, they can't put the genie back in the bottle. Once you sell a "core" system without the HDD, it's almost like the HDD doesn't exist as far as devs are concerned. They will likely never use it now, and can never count on issuing patches, free maps, or whatever else because the whining non-HDD base would tear them apart.

 

I would have much preferred that the $299 "core" system didn't exist at all. Then we could just complain about all the extra crap they force us to buy at the $399 pricetag :D

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Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?

I'd say yes. The price is steep as mentioned, and some would no doubt have gone through a period of discontent over the added cost but if MS would have just come out with one SKU for 400, things would definitely be better. We could take solace in HD standardization etc. ;)

 

I'm not opposed to the two SKU's in general though (aside from the HD standardization issue as mentioned). If MS just had to do it, I would have liked to have seen the wireless controller included, along with the charge kit, and a way to keep your XBL profile on the console itself if at all possible withouth requiring a mem card. (they could still make thier cash the old fashion way requiring it for game saves). The core system would be just fine at that point as you could still access Live, take advantage of it's features, have the wireless controller they have been touting, an easy way to charge it and then you can make the decision as to whether you want to move up the HDD for backwards compatability and any other functionatlity. That's my thinking.

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Putting a bit more thought in to it, I have a difficult time comming up with examples of where the game used the hard drive in a unique way. Right now all I can think of is Blinkx...

What I really like about the HD is the ability to download and play expansions for games and store save games without a damn memory card. With that nice big chunk of memory in there I doubt there will be much need for a HD to stream data like the one in the original.

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So to get a minor bragging right of $299 launch' date=' MS is basically forcing developers to throw the HDD out the window. How stupid, petty, and short sighted is that? Because even if only 25% of the total base buys that core system, it is highly doubtful that devs will start coding for it. Add in the bizarre comment by MS that the HDD might "not always be there" and it looks more and more like just a great big memory card.

[/quote']I don't think that'll be the case at all. I personally don't know anyone with a broadband connection who doesn't own a windows pc. I don't think it's too far out of reach for ms to allow the cheap box to use this hdd. The 360 is usb compatible, so you might even be able to use the storage space on your ipod, or digital camera.

 

For the few out there (probably less then 5% of owners) who are too cheap to buy a memory card and don't own a pc, but still want to get on live, well you could force them to load updates/game saves off the net whenever they booted up, they don't like waiting 2 minutes to start up a game, well maybe that'll be incentive to pony up a few bucks and buy a memory card. :tu

 

It only works in microsoft to sell you a bargain basement console, then try and hit you up for accessories. If you buy the cheap box today, then a game comes out that requires an hdd, well you better go ahead and buy the hdd or you'll be left watch reruns of friends that night. :D

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Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?

 

I would be unhappy about that price. But I would be reassured that the HD was in every Xbox, so all of the advantages we enjoyed with the Xbox 1 HD would carry over automatically, so to speak.

 

It's no longer an automatic buy, or pre-order for me. I will likely wait until next year to get one...preferably if/when they drop the price.

 

The two SKUs per-se don't bother me much, but it does seem that MS has carefully engineered this whole thing to play a game with consumers. The pricing of the accessories (and the licensing deal for 3rd parties) is clearly meant to sway people into buying the premium version. No, they didn't invent this idea, far from it, but it's still annoying.

 

Then there is the perception MS cultivated at E3, including the infamous 'around $300' quote. They touted wireless capabilities, and AFAIK made every indication that the HD would be standard.

 

And finally, as I said before, this is disappointing because to me it guarantees that the PS3 will be $399 as well. Of course that's only disappointing because there was every indication to expect a ~$300 Xbox 360...

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Putting a bit more thought in to it' date=' I have a difficult time comming up with examples of where the game used the hard drive in a unique way. Right now all I can think of is Blinkx...

What I really like about the HD is the ability to download and play expansions for games and store save games without a damn memory card. With that nice big chunk of memory in there I doubt there will be much need for a HD to stream data like the one in the original.[/quote']

 

 

In almost every racing game I've played on the Xbox, there is something called "Replay" after the race ends where you can watch the entire race again since it's "Tivo'ed" to the HDD in every match. PGR2 pushed this idea even further, where you could upload/download your best races to the Live service and even race against someone else's run as a ghost car in your game.

 

And Halo 2 has like what, a dozen extra maps to download? I can't see those fitting too easily on a 64 MB memory card, or having to d/l them every time you want to play it.

 

I don't see these being possible without the HDD. But maybe there are ways around this, or for racing games the "replay" is now optional for the elite "premium" package users and likewise for d/l maps.

 

Still feels like a step back for the product.

 

 

 

PS - Does anyone know if the headsets from this xbox gen will be compatible with the 360?

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In almost every racing game I've played on the Xbox, there is something called "Replay" after the race ends where you can watch the entire race again since it's "Tivo'ed" to the HDD in every match.

 

That's actually not how it usually works. The race isn't "tivoed". If that was the case, no non-Xbox racing game could have a replay mode which clearly isn't true.

 

With replays (for racing games & other genres), what usually happens is the player's input gets stored each time he or she presses a button or moves the controller with a timestamp of which frame it happened on. When it's time to play the replay, those buffered controls are processed instead of the actual controller.

 

As long as the game is deterministic with the same random number generator & solid code, the game will replay as if a live human was pressing the controls. Often games aren't fully deterministic, and you'll see the game go "wrong" compared to how you remember playing it.

 

This is the classical way of doing a replay mode, often used for debugging too. No harddrive needed. It's also why they can be uploaded by the likes of PGR2 because the file is much smaller than some 'tivoed' game data.

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Aside from larger downloaded content, it's pure speculation that developers won't use the HDD if it's present. I read somewhere that MS makes it easy to implement this feature for developers. Maybe it'll be a standard feature of the 360 OS, like the LIVE features will be. It's not like they are stangers to caching. Window's uses the HDD to cache and swap memory back and forth, and it adjusts it on the fly. I'd think the technology would be similar.

 

If HDD exists, pre-load game content, else stream from media. How hard could it be? :confused:

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Would less people be unhappy and even angry if the "premium" SKU was the only one, even at the $400 price?

 

I'd be incredibly mad as I hate seeing it when manufacturers make paying a premium the only option to everyone even when a device may have features some people have no use for (see my tiresome rants regarding the PS3).

 

I too am not opposed to two packs in theory, I just think the core pack is pathetic because it takes advantage of the fact that it knows even the lowest end buyer is going to need an extra peripheral or two. Everyone need's something to save to, so that's $340 for the core pack and memory unit. Still want better cables? Add $20 more for VGA or component, or $30 more for s-video. With such a $360 configuration you can see how they then make the premium package at some $40 more look so shiny and enticing oozing a perceived better value for money (which it only is if you're making use of everything the premium bundle has to offer). It’s an incredibly sneaky way of nudging the middle-end user toward buying the premium pack.

 

The groups both packs are outright aimed at are minorities. The lowest end are not really ones to buy a console at launch, or at least pay over $200 for one at any point in time. Microsoft blatantly know this which is why we’ve heard the core packs will be in shorter supply. The ultra ‘got to have it all’ high enders are a minority to, but I’ve just explained how MS expect the more general buyer to stretch for the expensive set.

 

The buzz for the next gen is wireless, wireless, wireless. Everywhere we look this winter regarding the 360 will surely show off the wireless pad as standard be it on TV, in store demo or in magazine articles and advertisements. Microsoft have bread gamers following the progress of the 360 since E3 to think that wireless is standard, so why core unit buyers would be short changed and deprived of that I just don't understand. In my opinion the basic unit should have included the memory unit and wireless pad and cost in the region of $329 at the most.

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I think people are getting their panties into a twist over nothing with respect to the hdd. From gameinformer.

 

Ever since Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox 360's pricing structure, gamers everywhere have been wondering if developers will take full advantage of the hard drive since it's not a standard accessory with every system. After all, why would a developer want to risk excluding a large segment of the 360 gaming market?

 

Bethesda, maker of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for Xbox 360, has previously boasted considerable use of the hard drive for its massive RPG. Many gamers are wondering if they can still play Oblivion if they purchase the hard drive-free Core System. We contacted Bethesda directly to find out.

 

"We've known since day one that there would be versions of the 360 without a hard drive, so Oblivion will still work on every 360," assures Todd Howard, executive producer at Bethesda. "That being said, Oblivion takes full advantage of the hard drive and uses it extensively, so we'd certainly recommend that everyone gets one."

 

This indicates that the hard drive can be tapped for more than just MP3 and photo storage. It seems developers are not afraid to utilize the hard drive for optimizing load times and streamlining their games much like the original Xbox.

 

Game Informer has also heard rumblings that Microsoft mandated all Xbox 360 games be playable without hard drive assistance (MMOs are excused from this requirement). It's up to the developer to choose how much hard drive optimization to include in their games from that point.

 

We'll unravel more on details on Xbox 360 in the months leading up to launch.

 

Lets face some facts, in the pc world, people have different configurations of graphic cards, memory, cpu and you don't see developers ignoring a high power graphics card because 98% of the gaming population doesn't have one. In fact, quite the opposite. So long as developers make the games playable on all 360 systems, they're free to add whatever optimization routines they want for units equipped with an hdd. Imo, this is just another reason to avoid the core system like the proverbial plague. I think its silly to automatically assume that developers will ignore the benefits of hard drive equipped systems because of the existence of the core system. People are overreacting and automatically assuming the worst case scenario.

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Members, please keep this new discussion area strictly to pricing, system launch date, and launch details. Any new game information should be placed in an existing game thread. If one does not exist, please create a new thread for said game. It's time we start breaking this stuff down now that we getting more information. Thanks!

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Game Informer has also heard rumblings that Microsoft mandated all Xbox 360 games be playable without hard drive assistance

 

No rumblings needed. Senior Xbox guys have stated in interviews that games are required to work without the harddrive present.

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This is the classical way of doing a replay mode, often used for debugging too. No harddrive needed. It's also why they can be uploaded by the likes of PGR2 because the file is much smaller than some 'tivoed' game data.

 

If I'm not mistaken, this is how internet multiplayer itself is done. Only the commands are sent over the 'net (essentially the button presses/stick movements on the controller).

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Another thing struck me. Given that the price of the HDD alone is quite literally the difference in cost between the two packages, it essentially makes the headset and wireless pad in the premium sets free, so why not make the wireless standard in the basic package, especially when Microsoft is looking to ship even fewer of those?

 

Daniel

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I would say, yes, to the original question.

 

I would have to say, the fear right now is that the core system will hobble the developers, who won't bother with supporting HD caching, right?

 

People are afraid of it ending up like the PS3 hard drive - used for nothing to the point that future configs just leave it out.

 

I think perhaps MS should make the HDD mandatory for online gaming, that way updates & patches can be applied to fix cheating problems, etc like they do now.

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I think perhaps MS should make the HDD mandatory for online gaming, that way updates & patches can be applied to fix cheating problems, etc like they do now.

 

That would limit the potential market for XBL of course.... Patches etc are still possible - Microsoft will most definitely use downloadable content as an enticement to upgrade to a HDD from a memory card...

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So much whining about price, yet $400 isn't really all that much to be paying for next gen's systems. Given inflation and the fluctuations in exchange rates, $400 now is worth a lot less in 'real dollars' than it was a few years ago. People see a 'number' quoted and start to cry, without considering the actual purchasing power it implies.

 

In terms of real dollars, the premium Xbox pack costs less than a launch PS2 + memory card, and it's a LOT cheaper than a launch PS1 + card or a Saturn. It also comes with a lot more in the box than any previous system. Perhaps the only mistake was providing the cheaper option since there's nothing wrong with a $400 price point yet not having all systems standardized complicates things. If they were going to go that route, it would have been better to make the low end system $349 and throw the HDD in.

 

Just curious, how much of a per-system loss would Microsoft need to take in order for people to be satisfied that they were getting a good 'value' and Microsoft wasn't out to scam them?

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