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Thursday, March 22, 2007

So What's The 360 Elite Cost?

Microsoft's updated and ebony 360 model is all but confirmed at this point, but the details are getting weird. Take this:

The Elite will be limited quantities only; that may be as much or as little as a couple hundred thousand.


Elite will cost $479, and will be a 3rd SKU; it will be sold alongside Premium and Core packs.


Eventually Elite hardware (in white plastics) will take the role of the Xbox Premium. That is to say, after the Elite is launched and sold out, future Xbox Premiums will have 120GB / HDMI.


We do not yet know exactly when 120GB / HDMI will become the standard for Premium, but it is loosely estimated to be late summer or fall.


Prices may remain the same with the 120GB / HDMI hardware upgrade in the Premium Xbox, but we may still see a price cut on the line when 65nm chips start ship
-- Xbox 360 Elite: new, black limited edition Xbox with HDMI and 120GB drive

That last bit is pretty lousy writing. I took it to mean, "becoming Premium doesn't mean a price cut" (since it is followed with a "but there may be a price cut"). Most seem to take it to mean - "The 360 Elite will become the $399 Premium".

If the latter is true, though, lots of things don't add up here. For one thing, a couple hundred thousand is like what ... a month or two of supply? So you're getting taxed $80 because you're impatient and you like black? Black is an $80 option? Here in Chicago, we call that a sucker tax. (Yes, I feel that way about the $50 paint job Apple charges for black Macbooks, although at least that's a decent paint job).

If the Elite is a collector's edition, surely it needs to have something to upsell other than a color swap that any modder could do for a few bucks? Usually when someone pays more for a limited edition, it is so they can show something off to their friends. Nobody would want to do that here because it only shows their friends that they're rather stupid when it comes to money.

Plus, the 20GB accessory for the 360 costs $99 right now. So if the SKU line gets a free upgrade, it would be safe to assume the 120GB would likewise cost $99. Course, that has to annoy the hell out of anyone who has 100GB less sitting on their shelf right now.

Something doesn't add up - but of course it wouldn't be the first time that's happened with console sales. I note the "may" in that sentence and take this whole thing with a grain of salt.

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