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Author Topic: Do you think MS will ever phase out the Core unit?  (Read 1200 times)
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Dafones
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« on: November 25, 2005, 05:00:18 PM »

Just like the title says, anyone think that Microsoft will ever simply ditch the Core 360 once the user base is large enough?

I thought of this from a developer stand point, and in a slightly different vein, because I wonder who's going to be the first developer to say, "f&ck this, we're designing our game around the hard disk, so you better have one." If Halo 3 required an HD, I'm fairly certain that those with a core system would go out and upgrade. (And that's not to bring up any side points regarding the fact that Bungie and MS go hand in hand. MS wants game that don't necessarily require a HD, Bungie ain't going to make one.)

It's pretty obvious that the Premium system is the clear favourite, despite the higher price. I know plenty of soccer Mom's, to their children's horror, are going to pick up the Core unit this holiday (and sucker Morton), but I can't see its support lasting all that long. I still can't believe that a console itself doesn't have a system wide standard. I could ramble on a little more, but work calls, and I think you guys may get the drift. Anyone agree - or flat out disagree?
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2005, 05:11:50 PM »

MS was sort of backed into the corner for this.  NA gamers have been used the 299.99 price point for quite awhile.  While I think MS should have just released the premium system at the 399.99 price I think they feared not getting the most users

Will it be phased I think so.  If it isn't phased then I can see MS producing less as time moves on.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2005, 08:02:32 PM »

Supposedly its currently madated by MS that all non-MMORPGs must be playable without the HDD attached.

Its certainly possible that it could be phased out but I'm betting the fact that it exists at all ensures that even five years down the line all games will still be made to function HDD-less.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2005, 08:14:14 PM »

At one point, the Xbox had a Giant controller.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2005, 08:51:20 PM »

So I guess games like Blinx and Timeshift won't be making an appearance on the 360?

Some other really good games needed the hard drive as well, I can't quite remember them, though.
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Temjin
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2005, 04:46:13 AM »

Quote from: "Purge"
At one point, the Xbox had a Giant controller.


Not really the same issue.  The controllers are functionally the same, one just "feels" better.  The HD is something a game needs to be desgined around, and by releasing the core system I think they have already made their choice.  I can't really envision a scenario where a developer is going to ignore an entire section of the installed base of 360 users.  Since the PS3 and Revolution won't have hard drives either, it's entirely possible most developers will continue to ignore it.    

And the 360 does have a system wide standard - the core system.
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2005, 04:58:51 AM »

Quote from: "Temjin"
Quote from: "Purge"
At one point, the Xbox had a Giant controller.


Not really the same issue.  The controllers are functionally the same, one just "feels" better.  The HD is something a game needs to be desgined around, and by releasing the core system I think they have already made their choice.  I can't really envision a scenario where a developer is going to ignore an entire section of the installed base of 360 users.  Since the PS3 and Revolution won't have hard drives either, it's entirely possible most developers will continue to ignore it.    

And the 360 does have a system wide standard - the core system.


You've missed the point; MS has historically listened to the demands of their demographic market. The giant controllers are comfortable however people wanted smaller so they changed the default controller. No other console maker has changed their controller mid-stride to suit the requests of the public.

As to the hard disk requirement; if you look at FFXI as an example, a hard drive is required (even if it's a MMORPG). Given a title in demand Ms would surely accomodate.. like Square says "You get FFXIII, but we want hard drive only" MS will say "OK".

I don't think the HD thing is that big of a deal though; and the core system is fine as it is. The one thing to remember about the hard disk is that it's just storage. It works with cards as well, but when you think about it, if someone were to take the Hard Disk out of your system (as it was damaged or they were taking to a friends place) would you want to be able to still play your games? There is a tradeoff value in not relying on that component.
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Dafones
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2005, 05:50:56 AM »

I'm curious to know what the ratio of Premiums to Cores were on launch, and how both versions are selling. And how much does the hard disk actually cost? Was it truly pricey enough to justify selling a system without one?
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2005, 06:22:16 AM »

Quote from: "Purge"
No other console maker has changed their controller mid-stride to suit the requests of the public.



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Sarkus
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2005, 07:01:54 AM »

I think MS made a miscalculation with the Core option.  They were so caught up in the sacred "299.99" price point and the potential impact a higher price would have on more casual consumers that they forgot that it's not the casual consumer that buys consoles at launch.  Look at the situation we have now - hard core gamers having to buy Core systems and not being able to find the hard drive to upgrade it or hard core gamers passing on the Core system altogether in the hopes that they find the regular system.  MS will sell all the Core systems it ships this holiday but it will be because of system shortages and not because it is fitting any actual niche.

They should have just produced the regular version at $400 (they could have even dropped the largely useless media remote to save money) and focused on achieving the $299.99 point for the system's second Christmas, when a console normally expands it's base to the mass market.  It would also have had the secondary positive effect of putting all kinds of pressure on Sony to release the PS3 at a larger loss price point to compete.

As it is the Core system is a useless complication for both retailers and consumers.
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2005, 07:08:33 AM »

From what I understand the core system is that way because of costs. The HD isn't a component thats going to come down in price. Its gonna cost MS about the same throughout the life of the system. But stuff like the CPU and GPU will so I guess the core version will be able to drop in price faster. So maybe in the future you could start to see a greater diffrence in price between the two systems than it is now so MS can offer a better low cost value to get people hooked in.
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2005, 07:59:35 AM »

My gut instinct is that they will drop it around the time the PS3 comes out and they will drop the price of the premium when they do that.
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2005, 08:44:21 AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
Supposedly its currently madated by MS that all non-MMORPGs must be playable without the HDD attached.

Its certainly possible that it could be phased out but I'm betting the fact that it exists at all ensures that even five years down the line all games will still be made to function HDD-less.


I've heard the opposite - besides, where would you put the patch files?
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2005, 09:12:29 AM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
From what I understand the core system is that way because of costs. The HD isn't a component thats going to come down in price. Its gonna cost MS about the same throughout the life of the system. But stuff like the CPU and GPU will so I guess the core version will be able to drop in price faster. So maybe in the future you could start to see a greater diffrence in price between the two systems than it is now so MS can offer a better low cost value to get people hooked in.

The CPU and GPU savings would apply to both versions.  If you're suggesting Microsoft wouldn't drop the price of the HD'ed unit in order to make up some of the $126 loss they're taking, it's possible.  However, I'd bank on any price drops hitting both SKUs while keeping the $100 price difference through the life of the system.  I think it'd be too hard to justify NOT dropping them both to the public.

Also, why wouldn't the HD drop in price?  HDs for PCs always do.
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Zarkon
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2005, 01:21:22 PM »

Bigger hard drives do, yes.

Smaller hard drives...not so much.  The 8 GB hard drive in the Xbox costs about the same now than it did in 2001.
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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2005, 02:23:52 PM »

Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
Quote from: "Purge"
No other console maker has changed their controller mid-stride to suit the requests of the public.





That wasn't at the market request, and the nintendo arcade stick never REPLACED the original controller as the the defacto standard.

The Dual Shock was to add joysticks; there is no functional difference from the Xbox controller vs. the s-controller.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2005, 04:08:20 PM »

Quote
That wasn't at the market request, and the nintendo arcade stick never REPLACED the original controller as the the defacto standard.

The Dual Shock was to add joysticks; there is no functional difference from the Xbox controller vs. the s-controller.


It was a joke smile

Though I'll disagree on the Dual Shock.  You mentioned market request and the Dual Shock was pretty much Sony's reaction to Nintendo when they introduced analog control and rumble.  I'm not sure why functional difference should play any role into this at all.
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2005, 04:09:36 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I've heard the opposite - besides, where would you put the patch files?


You've heard that MS is allowing non-MMORPGs to mandate the HDD?
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2005, 05:54:20 PM »

I think if Square-Enix or Rockstar said "we are going to make our next blockbuster HD-only" then MS will say, "Sure!  We'll have to put a big sticker on the case stating this, but no problem!"

Having written that, I wonder if it would be worth the backlash.  There would be a lot of unhappy people...  Perhaps they could include a cupon or something for money off the hard drive.

Regardless, it would have to be a developer with a big franchise and perhaps dangling the threat to go Sony-exclusive with it.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2005, 09:01:06 PM »

Quote from: "CrayolaSmoker"

The CPU and GPU savings would apply to both versions.  If you're suggesting Microsoft wouldn't drop the price of the HD'ed unit in order to make up some of the $126 loss they're taking, it's possible.  However, I'd bank on any price drops hitting both SKUs while keeping the $100 price difference through the life of the system.  I think it'd be too hard to justify NOT dropping them both to the public.

Also, why wouldn't the HD drop in price?  HDs for PCs always do.



I thinks a combination of the HD just being already about as cheap as it can get(think its $50 or so for MS in cost). I'd think MS would have to pay a certain minimmum for it since a HD manufactuer can say well if there going to devote a certain amount of production capacity for the 360 HD's they have to be paid a certain minimum since they could use that production for something newer and more profitable in the future. Also the 360 uses laptop HD's which are more expensive to make.

As to my first point. The non-HD will allow them to hit the $199 and $150 "magical" pricepoints faster. These prices have always meant a jump in sales for past consoles. I've never liked the 2 SKU idea either but thats the only reason I can think of why there doing it.
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2005, 10:02:35 PM »

Quote from: "CrayolaSmoker"
Quote from: "Jumangi"
From what I understand the core system is that way because of costs. The HD isn't a component thats going to come down in price. Its gonna cost MS about the same throughout the life of the system. But stuff like the CPU and GPU will so I guess the core version will be able to drop in price faster. So maybe in the future you could start to see a greater diffrence in price between the two systems than it is now so MS can offer a better low cost value to get people hooked in.

The CPU and GPU savings would apply to both versions.  If you're suggesting Microsoft wouldn't drop the price of the HD'ed unit in order to make up some of the $126 loss they're taking, it's possible.  However, I'd bank on any price drops hitting both SKUs while keeping the $100 price difference through the life of the system.  I think it'd be too hard to justify NOT dropping them both to the public.

Also, why wouldn't the HD drop in price?  HDs for PCs always do.
Hard Drive prices stay about the same but capacities and speed keep increasing.  That might be your answer to keeping the premium price up as well.   They go with a bigger (& faster?) hard drive, maybe throw in a pack in game or a 3 month Live Gold card.  Core price drops, but the premium can either stay the same or have a more modest drop.  Then Microsoft can sell the larger HD as an upgrade to both core can premium customers.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2005, 06:23:52 AM »

Yea thats basically it. The $50 or so MS pays for the HD is as low as its going to get whatever the size so its basically fixed for the life of the system.
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