Just one week to go before Xbox 360 launches, and I'm sitting here trying to figure out whether my ridiculously overpriced pre-order bundle will ship on time or not.

The idea offering pre-orders only in bundle format is particularly interesting, mainly because I wonder what it does to the accessibility of these new generation of consoles to younger gamers. Take the bundles that ebgames offered: you had two options, you could get the core 360 bundle for $599 or the premium bundle for $699. I remember back to when I was a kid, and there was no way I'd be getting a $700 present for any day of the year. I've proposed the same question to a number of others, and no one seems to have a good response other than "my parents wouldn't have bought me a $700 console bundle when I was a kid." So I truly wonder, who is going to buy the supposed 1 million Xbox 360s that will be available in the US on November 22nd?

There is the possibility that expectations for parents have changed in the past 10 - 20 years, and that if your child wants a $700 Xbox 360 bundle, that it is a reasonable expenditure. I tend to find that hard to believe, as $700 could very well be two car payments, a rent check or pay all utilities for a month, and I do find it hard to believe that parents today would easily spend that on what essentially amounts to a single present.

The more likely option (in my opinion), is that unlike what I had originally expected, console gaming isn't hitting the new generation of kids like it did previous generations, rather it is growing up and getting to kids later on in life. Once you hit your early teens then the possibility for folks to at least start contributing to the price of a $700 bundle becomes possible. Is it just that gamers these days are forced to start later in life because of the sheer cost barrier?

Or am I totally off base here and is $700 just not considered a lot of money anymore? Hmm, if it is the latter option then that would make this the very first "I remember when _____ used to cost _____ in my day" post of my life. Not good.
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  • Dmitheon - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    The long and short of it is that, as we all know, consoles, at launch are sold at cost. Place like Gamestop/EB, who's life's blood is video games, if they sell you an xbox360 +1 game, or some other kid 1 game sans system, they're making the exact same profit. If their revenue doesn't go up by order of magnitude, which it won't, they're not going to pull down the same kind of profit they would on a non-launch year. Sure their revenue will go up, but profit is what matters at the end of the day. By creating these accessory rich bundles, they're claiming some of that profit back. Your best buys, walmarts, and market specific retailer isn't as hurt by this because they're also getting profits from TVs, DVDs, towels, what-have you. The packages are primarily in pre-order and once the system becomes commonly available, the ridicules packages tend to disappear. Reply
  • Bubbacub - Friday, November 25, 2005 - link

    I think MS has no real intention of having every family plunge 700 dollars (and most probably 700 pounds in the uk!) on a 360. they are just milking the initial minority of addicted gamers who have less of a life than they have disposable income. in a short time the price will drop to become a realistic present for kids. Next years chrimbo will be when kids get their next gen console as a present Reply
  • Marsumane - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    I totally agree with your opinion. This factor has been on my mind for the past couple years actually. I'm "only" 21 and I KNOW that my total gift cost of what was baught for me didn't even total $700 and that was only a few yrs ago. My parents debated on the price of a $150 GF3 my junior yr in high school. My entire computer I built a year and a half ago wasn't even this price WITH my 9800p. The prices of consoles are becomming so huge. I blame the parents for actually making it possible for these consoles to be priced so high due to their willingness to purchase these for their child. In my opinion, $300 for a non-crippled (has the HD) console with 2 controlers and a game or atleast a demo disk is much more appropriate as compared to today's offerings. Reply
  • fr8mvr - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Well, I am an older gamer- 47. I play Xbox live with a group of friends from around the world. I purchased a presale off Ebay for 500 dollars- premium edition. Not quite the 700 but all things considered about 80 dollars over list without standing in line for 10 hours.
    At least with a console vs a PC, 4 people can play off one TV... My kids and there friends-using a 'Live" connection can game together wether they are in the same room or not. I have oftten gamed with the neighborhood teens :)

    In the long run the market is just not for kids but adults as well.. and with the 360 you have the bonus of using it as a medi server--Mp3's streamed to my audio system..
    So for what you get, 399 is not much..700 seems like big amount but that is bundled with 3-4 games an extra controller--
    Reply
  • Gannon - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    You're right about the games and extra controller.

    But they are right that gaming is getting pricey. I bought my first NES for around $250 CAD when it first came out, and all it came with was mario, duckhunt, 2 NES controllers + the light gun zapper. Thats 2 games, 2 controllers and a light gun.

    But consoles only look cheap on paper, a PS2 with 2 memory cards + 2 controllers, still sets you back $30 for another controller and perhaps $50 for two memory cards, plus the PS2 only usually came with one game or NO game, and at $299 when it first came out it would easily put over $400 bucks.

    Most game console releases "seem" cheap until you add in memory cards, controllers, accessories and games.
    Reply
  • Pythias - Thursday, November 17, 2005 - link

    The same could be said of pcs and the fact that you have to upgrade your video card to keep playing current games. Not to mention ram and cpu. Reply
  • fr8mvr - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    Well, I am an older gamer- 47. I play Xbox live with a group of friends from around the world. I purchased a presale off Ebay for 500 dollars- premium edition. Not quite the 700 but all things considered about 80 dollars over list without standing in line for 10 hours.
    At least with a console vs a PC, 4 people can play off one TV... My kids and there friends-using a 'Live" connection can game together wether they are in the same room or not. I have oftten gamed with the neighborhood teens :)

    In the long run the market is just not for kids but adults as well.. and with the 360 you have the bonus of using it as a medi server--Mp3's streamed to my audio system..
    So for what you get, 399 is not much..700 seems like big amount but that is bundled with 3-4 games an extra controller--
    Reply
  • Leomarg02 - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    I feel that prices are getting out of hand for consoles because it wasn't long ago when a bundle for a PS2 with a few games and extra controller cost you less than $400 and it is still able to play good games. But now you need to flesh out the wallet so much that you think and even consider I need two jobs or my gaming addiction is going to kill me. Now I also said no because if you think to consider graphics cards 7800GTX and beyond on PCs are almost as much as the xbox 360 today so if you factor that in you might be getting a good deal on value. Like one of the guys said graphic requirements for games are starting to increase in higher increments every quarter of the year but yet you can play a console game and not see much loss in you wallet. If you think of it sometimes it seems like PC gaming is a novelty or it could be dead when next-gen consoles come out but it is there for a reason. Most advanced and hardcore players are PC gamers and probably is meant for them but it shouldn't be that way. It shouldn't require you to buy a game and a new top of the line pc with top graphics just to play a new game. Most of you know casual gamers buy console which I find nothing wrong with and they are getting good value because for example with the Xbox 360 you can stream videos and pictures and it can serve as a DVD player as well which much people consider a more than just a gaming machine. It's been around since the PS2 and it still works well even better now with higher resolutions. That's why it's such tempting to go with the simple life and head to consoles instead of PC. In the end it's a matter of personal interest and your decision. I would never have the money or chance to get a $700 bundle when I was younger but people did and that's what started this chain of supply and demand. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - link

    My feeling on PCs is that a gaming PC is really just an office PC with an expensive GPU. $400 for an Xbox 360? Well, that same $400 turns an office PC with 1GB of RAM, 250GB HDD, and a moderately fast CPU into a gaming powerhouse. If you're looking to build a complete computer *just* for gaming, yes, it's ludicrously expensive. If you're looking for a computer for other tasks, and you're thinking about getting a console as well for gaming... $400 almost buys a 7800GTX, which can run any game at 1280x720 (same as Xbox) with no problems at all. Reply
  • tivo - Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - link

    "Or am I totally off base here and is $700 just not considered a lot of money anymore? Hmm, if it is the latter option then that would make this the very first "I remember when _____ used to cost _____ in my day" post of my life. Not good."

    Ya' know you're getting older when you find yourself saying phrases you've heard your parents and grandparents say your whole life!

    We're gettin' old Anand! :-D

    -Tivo
    Reply

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