The hot rumor going around the Internet has been that, at this year’s CES, Microsoft will unveil a new, even more elite SKU when they unveil the Xbox 360 Ultimate. If the rumors are to be believed, the Ultimate will feature 1080p, HDMI output, a 320 GB hard drive, a built in HD-DVD player amongst other features coveted by audio and videophiles as well as gamers.
There are two huge problems with this rumor. One new and one old.
The first is that, with this addition to a lineup already four SKUs deep, Microsoft is making it that much more difficult for the average consumer to figure out which console they want. I understand, and to a degree appreciate, the desire to offer consumers choice. No one likes to be in a “take it or leave it” situation. At the same time, five consoles may be a bit much. At least let’s eliminate the Halo 3 and Elite SKUs, as the game tie-in version’s game launched 4 months ago and the Elite is not exactly so anymore if there is a better version, and get back to the good old days of three versions. The “‘tard pack,” the “one you need” and the “ridiculous one” are all the choices anyone needs.
My second problem, and it has just come up in the past few days, is why add a technology to the console that is more than likely on the way out to a perfectly viable console?
HD-DVD has lost the support of Warner Bros. and New Line, as the two have gone Blu-Ray exclusive, and is down to only Paramount/Dreamworks and Universal as it’s only two exclusive studios. Those two studios are big and HD-DVD does still get many multi platform releases but the writing is on the wall. Adding HD-DVD as part of the actual unit, and not just as an add-on, will taint the unit as being perhaps old and/or not worth consumers dollars.
Microsoft, I implore you, shelf this console and save the crazy stuff for, ummm, the next gen (I hear you’re already working on a game for it anyway) and keep the Xbox 360 less confusing and untainted.
Do you want an even more feature rich Xbox 360 or should we leave the schizophrenic Xbox 360 alone?