The release of the newest version of the Xbox 360 came right before I prepared to move to my own apartment, where my roomate’s console would be unavailable for the first time in several years. Perfect timing I guess, though there are always caveats with console hardware revisions, ones which make all the new features a little less exciting. Rather than research what these might be, I decided to buy the new 360 blind. Here is what I have found:
– Microsoft continues to rip off their pals at Sony and Nintendo when convenient. The new hardware has a touch sensor for the power button and disc eject, and it makes beeps when turned on and off. That makes it work pretty much like a PS3, and when placed next to one, it kind of looks like a cancerous growth with a radioactive green glow to it.
– When stood vertically in all of the promotional shots, the console looks like it has been partially crushed. When laid on its sign, however, it merely looks like a smaller 360, concave faceplate and all.
– The Xbox 360 has had a variety of different pack in accessories over the years. The launch models got the deluxe treatment, including a dvd remote, headset, and component cables. It was a nice way to give early adopters a chance to take full advantage of their HD, all-in-one wonderthing. Since then, the remote was taken out, and now so have the component cables. Just like Sony, MS decided that the best way to show off a device with HDMI support is to give people the worst possible hookup possible, even though HD sets have become so commonplace that there exist budget models with absolutely no composite inputs.
But hey, you still get the headset! Nice to know that Xbox Live (which you might potentially pay them for) is higher up on their list of priorities.
– As you’ve probably heard already, you still can’t move the console while running, or else risk having your game discs destroyed.
– The console is advertised as being “Kinect Ready”. Does that mean that older models aren’t? And what do they have to do to prepare?
On one hand, the mere existence of the new 360 probably means that the console on a whole isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And yet its release is still beyond aggravating. This is what the release of an Apple product revision would be like without the accompanying cult and logistics that ensure that older models leave stores on time. Older model 360 bundles are on the shelf right next to this one, for the same price, with significantly smaller harddrives and no wireless features. Hell, I saw the new 360 (with wireless N support) in a flyer right next to the $100 360 Wireless N Adapter. These are the kinds of decisions that make Sony look like a model student, though hell if they get as much shit for their blunders. Then again, this seems to be MS’ mode of operation; make all sorts of “mistakes” meant to nickel and dime consumers, and rely on sheer popularity and consumer laziness to coast through unscathed. It seems to be working well enough so far, and really, it says more about us than them.