The Haus

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Official Xbox 360 Pricing

Microsoft has confirmed the pricing of the Xbox 360. There will be two versions: a basic model with a wired controller and no hard drive for $299. There will also be a $399 model that includes a 20G hard drive and a wireless controller, among other tidbits. Personally, I think it's a bad idea to have multiple versions of a console. Most game companies will support the lowest common demoninator to make sure their games will run on as many systems as possible. It makes you wonder, at least initially, how much the hard drive will be used. It also makes the PS3's rumored $399 price point seem easier to swallow.

All of the sudden, though, consoles are losing some of the price advantage they had over PC gaming. Granted, you won't be able to buy a decent gaming PC for even $399, but when you start adding things like a memory card, second controller, and games at $60 a crack, the price difference isn't as attractive as it once was. Even a basic system with one game is going to run you about $400. That's a pretty good chunk of change for not a whole lot. Of course, that's also why I'm not an early adopter :) I'll let other people with more money than sense work out the inital, inevitable hardware problems and I'll swoop in when the price has dropped. At least nowadays old consoles can still work as a perfectly functional DVD player, even if their gaming days are past.

Update! I was just reminded that in order to make use of the Xbox 360's limited backwards-compatibility, you need to have a hard drive. So basically the low-end version is not compatible with any original Xbox games at all. They'd better make that very clear on the packaging. You just know that there are going to be people who are going to try to pop Halo into that bad boy only to be greeted by a whole lot of nothing.

Minor Rant Websites, please use "HDD" as an abbreviation for hard disk drive. "HD" is generally used these days to mean "high definition" T.V. All Xbox 360s will have HD, not all of them will have a HDD.

J.t.Qbe comments: Multiple versions is going to be a questionable strategy. As you pointed out, game developers are going to want to aim for the lowest common denominator, potentially leaving higher-end systems out in the cold. Anyone remember the PS2 hard drive?

One of the reasons I got an Xbox was that I didn't have the inclination to put several hundred bucks into my PC just to play some games. A gaming-quality PC is not cheap, especially if you're starting from scratch. However, I'm with you: let the early adopters buy the buggy unpolished consoles with the limited selection of games, and I'll buy one after several rounds of price drops.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bleh: Microsoft Abuse?

I had posted this two days ago, but I was a wuss and pulled it, since I didn't want to "offend" anyone. Now I am offended. And people should know what goes down when you contact Microsoft via their abuse email address.

I was reviewing web site logs at work last week, checking for any new security hacks, etc, when I discovered that various source IP addresses from tide*, which is a domain address range owned by Microsoft, were aggresively spidering our web site. I contacted Microsoft via their abuse address, hoping to get more information on what was going on, since this spider was beating the hell out of our web site, and on a daily basis.

Their response? It was spyware. I told them to try again, and reiterated it was my web servier being abused from systems on THEIR network. Their response? Contact a support engineer. No, I won't pay $250 for you to fix something on your network. Try again. Today? It's spyware and abusive email, which "does not appear to involve abusive e-mail messages from Microsoft directly". Okay, (expletives), where did I say anything about email?!?

Don't waste your time reporting anything "fishy" from Microsoft's network to their abuse email address. You are just wasting your time. Just block them at the router. You won't have to get as angry as I am right now. And I thought Symantec's support people were bad. Good grief.

A.T. Hun comments: I'll take "Things That Don't Surprise Me" for $500, Alex.

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