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.