Microsoft’s unconfirmed move to create a 100-gig hard drive add on for the Xbox 360 console could be a huge bonus in the gaming system’s battle against the slow-to-launch PlayStation 3. Or, it could be a complete flop.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of the idea:
More flexibility. This is a defininte plus. Gamers could buy the stripped down system and add on to it as they can afford, or desire. There’s no need to pay out the rear for something they don’t want or can’t financially swing just to be able to start playing 360 games.
More affordability. In line with the above, the add on set up of the 360 enables gamers to buy what they can afford to get playing and allows them to build up to an uber console as they go. There’s no reason to have to wait to play.
More storage. With all kind of goodies available on Xbox Live and the possibility for more music and video purchases down the road, the extra storage will no doubt come in handy for gamers. This, too, will enable the 360 to better compete against the PS3’s total entertainment package marketing.
Functionality. The onus will be on Microsoft to make sure all the parts work together correctly from Day One. Sony’s already going through this with its Blu-ray drive for the PS3’s. If add ons like the 100-gig drive and the HD player don’t work right, Microsoft could be sorry. I’m not saying the add ons won’t work, but if this issue arises, it could be a problem.
Pricing. To make the add on idea work, Microsoft will have to take care to ensure the pricing for the nifty add ons don’t make the total package more expensive than the PS3. If the bottom line is higher, gamers will very likely run right to Sony, if and when, the bugs are worked out on its next-gen offering.
Cyborging of the machine. This is one of the complaints I’ve heard from gamers about the add on HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. As one friend put it, “Why would I go out and buy a bunch of add ons for the 360, which may or may not work entirely as intended, when I can wait and get the full package in the PS3?”
Sure the drives will be made to work with the 360, but they “won’t be a part of it.”
Granted, the hard drive add on currently available seems to work very well, but when this is coupled with the HD-DVD add on, the 360 could begin to resemble an Erector Set of electronics, which won’t present the best images.
There’s no word on when the 100-gig drive will hit North American streets, or exactly how much it will cost. If it works well (and the HD-DVD drive does, too), it could be a huge score for Microsoft. It will likely be Sony’s win if it doesn’t.
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