According to J. Allard the Xbox 360 guru, the decision to sell the Xbox in two configurations is pro consumer in regards to the Xbox 360 hard drive issue. It allows consumers to decide whether or not the hard drive is worth the extra cost.
Allard stated “You buy the Xbox 360 Core system, you can build up to the premium system and you won’t be left out of anything along the way,” showing that consumers have a better choice since those choosing to buy the core system can then decide if and when they would purchase the Xbox 360 hard drive.
The flexibility offered by having a choice of purchasing the Xbox 360 hard drive or adding it on at a later date is not normally associated with the consumer electronics market and shows Microsoft’s commitment to providing it’s customers a choice according to Allard.
Allard said “Consumers like choice, and it’s a very pro-consumer move on our part to say, ‘We’ve got two configurations of system that’ll be launching in Europe and if they’re not right, we have the flexibility to go and change it.”
All of the Xbox 360 games will be playable without the Xbox 360 hard drive. This promises the gamers who purchased just the core system will not be limited in the games that they play because of no Xbox 360 hard drive.
The Xbox 360 hard drive will contain pre-loaded specialized content. This content will be included in both the Xbox 360 Premium pack and the Xbox 360 hard drives that are purchased separately. The included content will include gamer content tiles which will allow gamers to personalize their Gamer Card by selecting one of the tiles to show as their icon when browsing Xbox Live. The custom sound track lets consumers test the Xbox 360’s audio capabilities. The video included on the Xbox 360 hard drive includes a track on “The Making of Xbox 360”. This will give people some insight on how this console was made and also showing off the video capabilities. The arcade game Hexic will give you and idea of the type of arcade games that will be available on Xbox Live. Hexic is created by Alexy Pajitnov, the original creator of Tetris. You know, one of the greatest games of all times. This game is very addictive and will keep you busy for the first two hours, before you even slip the first disk into the console.
Over all the content of the Xbox 360 hard drive is to give the consumer an understanding of what the capabilities of the game system are.
Part of the decision to offer consumers a choice of hard drive or no hard drive came because Microsoft was not willing to bear the costs of the hard drive as they did in 2001 with the Xbox. They had lost $4 billion on the original Xbox console.
Since Microsoft demands that games be able to play without a hard drive there are many game developers who are unhappy. This unhappiness is related to issues with streaming and caching. Allard tried to balance that problem out by stating. “from the developer point of view you have the best tools and the commitment of the most well-resourced company in the world going worldwide with this product and saying that we want to grow the audience. So that seems like a win for developers”.
But to many industry analysts and most hard core gamers, this hard drive issue is just a promotion ploy from Microsoft. A way to say the Xbox 360 only costs $300.00 when in reality the only package worth purchasing is $400.00. This is because to do any type of online functions or to save games you need to have either a hard drive or 64 MB memory card that can be purchased for $40.00. So if you purchase the core system you will eventually need to spend as much as or more than the Xbox 360 Premier Package. This makes the core system cost savings non existent or at the very least significantly less.
Xbox 360 hard drive or no hard drive the choice is yours but in all reality there is no choice. This may be why Microsoft predicts over 50% of the first launch consoles are the Xbox 360 Premier system.