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Microsoft will be shipping two versions of Xbox this time, reports Yahoo! News. One will be a basic version without a hard-drive, wireless controls & some other features and the other will be as you can guess, a fully-loaded version!! They will be retailing at about $300 & $400 respectively in the North-America while it will be about 300 euros & 400 euros respectively in Europe. The enhancements like a 20GB detachable Hard-Disk, Wireless controllers, TV Remote, headsets for the online service Xbox Live, Ethernet cables for broadband internet connections etc. will be available seperately.

This is quite a price hike as when the Xbox came out, it cost about $300 and currently sells for about half of that. Some industry analysts are however doubtful of any negative response, indeed, like Matt Rosoff from Directions on Microsoft said:

Hard-core gamers will be on board. I think the sticker shock might be in the larger audience Microsoft is trying to reach — casual game players and neophytes.

But Microsoft isn’t worried of people scared away from buying due to the price hike, as VP for Home & Entertainment division at Microsoft, Robbie Bach was quoted saying:

The company is breaking new ground by offering consumers a choice. Historically, there’s been one price point and one configuration. You got it whether you wanted it or not.
Both versions will support high-definition visuals and play music and movies, among other features that weren’t built into original Xbox.

High Definition Visuals? What are you trying to sell me?? I wouldn’t buy a piece of crap for $300, would I? So ofcourse I’d expect better visuals even in the last version of Xbox that retailed for about $300!! And what’s that about playing music & movies? Surely I’m not gonna shell out $300 to listen to music or watch movies, a DVD player will obviously cost a lot less than that while doing the job of playing music & movies quite better than Xbox. And ofcourse, you’d expect someone buying a gaming console that costly to have a DVD player or atleast a VCD player to watch movies & listen to music!! So these features aren’t quite required, are they?

Though Microsoft is standing firm on its delivery target of this year’s holiday season(about at the end near christmas, right?) for North America, Europe & Japan, which is clearly earlier than the expected release of Sony’s Playstation 3 which won’t come out before spring next year. So does that mean that people in other countries will have to wait till next year to lay their hands on their shiny new Xbox 360? 😕

The Xbox division is currently operating in losses as it didn’t do exactly what Microsoft intended to do with it. Sony’s PlayStation2 rules the market & Nintendo’s GameCube is not a looser either!!

Well, I’m glad that I’m not a gamer & all of my somewhat little gaming needs are satisfied by those little Flash games from Miniclip & the game demos that I get in the DVDs of CHIP & Digit. 😀 I quite don’t like the idea of spending anywhere near Rs.17000 on a gaming console!!