The Xbox 360 Paradox

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The Xbox 360 Paradox

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Approximately 70 Million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold worldwide since 2005 and many of the owners including myself have been frustrated with Microsoft for one reason or another. In many ways the handling of the Xbox brand has been comparable to the way Apple handles many of its products such as the Iphone. Many popular companies have the dubious distinction of putting out inferior products with high price tags only to release a new “generation” with more features for a cheaper price.

The original Xbox 360 released in 2005 had a 20 GB internal hard drive for $399.99 and a core model with less internal space for $299.99 In 2007 the Xbox 360 elite model was released with a 170 GB internal hard drive and the hefty price of $479.99, the elite version also came with accessories such as a headset and HDMI ports which were not available in the previous generation. These first and second generation models were not without problems such as the dreaded red ring of death which was previously a death sentence for all 360’s, there was also network connection problems, overheating, freezing and lag during gameplay. Early generation consoles were made with lead free solder which caused internal cables to become loose if the 360 would overheat causing total an AV cable error which is the cause of the RROD. It has also been speculated that the graphics chips in early generations caused the console to overheat because of Microsoft cutting corners to save money.

By 2008 the original, the core model and the first generation elite model had all been discontinued. After discontinuation of these admittedly inferior consoles Microsoft released new generations and the old models got an understandable price cut. In 2008 the next generation was the Xbox 360 Premium which was packaged with 60 GB of internal storage, HDMI ports and a headset for only 349.99. For 50 dollar less than the price of the original Xbox 360 you received 3x the storage, a HDMI port, improved design and a free headset. The same year another 360 was released with 60 GB internal storage, the same improved design and an HDMI port with no headset for 299.99. Consumers who brought the Xbox 360 Premium ended up paying an extra 50 dollars for a 39.99 dollar headset.

Fast forward to 2010 and suddenly a new Xbox appears on the market with 250 GB of storage space, HDMI port and headset for 299.99. By 2012 the price has dropped to $249.99 for everything you never got in earlier generations. Notice a pattern? It will only be a matter of time before a new model shows up with a price tag of $199 which will end up conveniently being right before Microsoft unveils their new console as early as 2015 and then the cycle can continue all over again. So the question we are all thinking is “Are companies really putting out inferior products with higher price tags when they already have the means to put out a better and cheaper version?” Yes! Of course they are its business 101; albeit unfair to consumers it’s still standard in the world of technology. Sony the company behind Xbox’s rival the Playstation 3 has done something similar but not on such an obnoxiously large scale. Playstation only has around 4 generations of their console while Xbox has 6. Sony has always given consumers the option of how much space they want to purchase and the differences between the old and newer ones are mostly cosmetic and in some cases the newer cheaper generations of Playstation 3 are worse than the first generations. New playstattion3’s do not come with the functionality to emulate Playstation 2 a feature that true games desire so if you paid more for an earlier model you still got more for your money. Currently PS3’s with the ability to emulate PS2 has been discontinued.

Another major gripe for 360 owners is the subscription needed to play online with friends through Xbox live gold, a service that both Playstation and Wii offer to its customers for free. A subscription to Xbox live costs 9.99 per month and 59.99 a year a price that is absolutely outrageous considering that new games cost around 59-69.99. Also before you can even pay for the service and if you have an older generation Xbox you need to buy a wireless adapter or a cord for a wired connection from your router. A major cause for frustration was the lack of a browser which was only added in 2012, eight years after the release of the initial console.  Microsoft has continued to push their own agenda before the cries of the consumers by adding Bing search, countless ads and apps. In conclusion let’s all take a moment and pray that Microsoft will leave behind the bad habits of Apple.