Industry Reacts to Xbox 360 Pricing
Personally, I think that bifurcating the market and making the HDD optional was a mistake on Microsoft’s part. Core game system buyers will have to get at least a memory card anyway to save games, bringing up the 360’s price to $340. Microsoft couldn’t have included a HDD into the Core system and sold it for $340? But no, they had to hit that $299 price point for bragging rights. Developers can no longer count on the HDD being there, and one of the large advantages that the XBox had over the PS2 will no longer exist for the Xbox 360 and PS3. In an industry as cut-throat as this one, I don’t think it’s a good idea for Microsoft to give up this advantage.
1UP.COM has gathered some reactions from big gaming industry folks, and many of them don’t seem to think Microsoft’s move to split the SKU will matter. But there are a few who agree with me, like David Perry from Shiny Entertainment:
One word: Blunder. Developers will almost always cater to the lowest spec’ed system when it comes to consoles, so as to maximize the customer base. So, my guess is that few games will truly make significant use of the hard drive, given that it’s an option that cannot be counted on.
In the end, I think the Xbox 360 will still be an enjoyable experience. You’ll still be able to play great games. (As was true of the PS2 without a HDD.) But that grass-is-greener syndrome that Sony fans were subjected to looking over the fence will be gone. This generation, Sony fans will have nothing to apologize for.