Microsoft announces memory upgrade plan for Arcade and Core owners


The folly of releasing an SKU so gimped that it can't even handle firmware updates is worth a scoff or two, especially when it was a cynical grab at undercutting the Wii's price point, but you have to give Microsoft credit: they've at least come up with a solution for Xbox 360 Arcade owners who don't have enough space to install the New Xbox Experience update.

And it's pretty generous too. Microsoft's Xbox 360 Memory Upgrade program will dole out a 20GB refurbished hard drives and three months of Xbox Live to Arcade owners willing to drop a triad of hamiltons. Got a Core system? Trade your serial number for a free 512MB memory unit, or pay $20 for a 20GB hard drive.

Of course, our nemeses over at Engasia friends at Engadget really do head butt the nail through the two-by-four: ultimately, this is more evidence of a flawed dual-SKU plan that has cost gamers and developers alike than real magnanimity. But it's comforting to see Microsoft throw a life raft to their most frugal (or clueless) customers.

Xbox Memory Update [ via Engadget]

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  1. Crecente and I had a sit-down with Moore a couple of years ago where I bet him some amount of money that these split SKUs would hurt the Xbox. I think I just won, but I don’t know if I still get to claim my money now that he’s at EA.

  2. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Core unit can’t handle firmware updates. The New Xbox Experience is more than a mere firmware update, it’s major rewrite of the dashboard. One would assume that most of that space is taken up by avatars.

  3. Wait .. it’s $30 for the 20gb drive if you own an Arcade, or $20 for it if you own the Core? That’s confusing, as the Core is definitely older than the Arcade.

  4. To be honest, I don’t think this is *that* big a deal. The Arcade and Core systems were designed to get people on board with the 360 on the ground floor level and to sell the bigger hard drivers.

    Microsoft is renown for liking money and I think this is what their intention was all along. Move units at a lower base price and sell upgrades.

  5. The part that really annoys me is that they still sell hard drives at ridiculous prices (outside of this special offer.)

    I’d love to get a 120GB HD so I could take advantage of HD movie downloads, but right now, there’s no point, because those drives are still selling at 160$CAN. A 120GB 2.5″ laptop drive retails for about 60$ (and I’m talking Seagate, here.)

    What am I paying an extra 100$ for? Insurance against drive failure? Ha!

  6. @1

    Joel, you didn’t win. This doesn’t hurt them at all. The multiple SKU has and is still doing the job of getting more systems sold (the clueless are a great market share) and the cost of this program is entirely within their tolerance / margin. If anything it helps via relatively positive PR

    Alos, there is a non-clueless market for the lower end SKU’s which include people who want additional units for tinkering/modding and those like myself who want a travel unit for offline games while on the road but don’t want to subjetc their primary console to the rigors of travel abuse.

  7. @3 The Arcade system comes with a 256MB memory unit and is still on the shelves while the Core system has been discontinued. Basically since they had crap for memory to begin with they are charging core owners less.

  8. Somebody explain how buying a $199 Xbox 360 Arcade and spending $20 for this drive is ‘clueless’ compared to spending $299 for the Xbox 360 with the 60gb drive, headset, network cable, and component video cable? I have no need for a drive larger than 20gb; I have plenty of network cables; I’m using an HDMI cable to my TV; I have no intention of using a headset, or Xbox LIVE, for that matter. So I should spend $100 for a larger drive?

    No thanks. This offer is exactly what I was betting on when I got the Arcade version; I get the gaming experience I want for $80 less than the 60gb model would have been.

  9. @8 If that is all you wanted then it isn’t clueless but, arguably, most people getting the system will want to leverage more of its potential than you. 20gb disappears almost immediately for most users – if you only need it for save games and patches you are fine but demos, videos, etc need to be carefully micromanaged otherwise. Also, the majority of gamers will want and use the headset. Not using LIVE takes away a huge chunk of what brings many to the 360 over other systems.

    The clueless reference comes from taking what most users will eventually spend on additional equipment versus the price they would pay for getting in it one of the other bundles. For many people getting the elite will work out to be more cost effective and is closer to the ‘real’ cost of the system whereas some people claim the arcade and lower systems are meant to tempt in people who are clueless about doing the math by offering a lower price point on the system that ends up costing them more in the long run

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