One of the new additions to the Xbox Live Marketplace this week is the complete first season of "The Jetsons". I loved the Jetsons. Absolutely loved the show and became giddy with the prospect of downloading some of the 22-minute episodes straight to my X360. or maybe all 24 episodes.
Then I saw the price.
160 Microsoft Points per episode is equivalent to $2.00. That's $2.00 for a 22-minute cartoon episode and unless I'm mistaken, unlike the movie downloads these do not self-delete. They're yours forever. Not a bad price individually, but there has to be some sort of bulk purchase option because you can buy the complete Season One 4-disc box set for $30 to $40 or less in brick and mortar stores.
I'm not about to pay 20% more money for an item that I not only don't possess physically (i.e. no box art or collector's booklet to flip through or at least hold in my hand) but that actually costs me more money to even own in the first place. That's right I'm talking hard drive space. Those 24 episodes of "The Jetsons" weigh in at 6.1 gigabytes. That's a huge chunk of the Xbox 360's hard drive which means that if I were to buy them and then, say, buy Season Two when it comes out, I'd have to go and spend another $100 on a second hard drive to handle it all.
The fact that there is no packaging, manufacturing, nor retail space being occupied alone should be enough to dictate that the digital version of the products cost less than the physical version you buy in a store. But when you factor in the cost of ownership in the form of hard drives, this becomes a major hit to the wallet all for the so-called convenience of being able to download on demand right from your couch. Yes, I realize that there are indeed hosting costs on the end of the provider and that there is a middle-man in the way of Microsoft, but these same costs exist at the iTunes Store as well. And you know what, you can buy the complete Season One of The Jetsons at iTunes for $27.99. The iTunes Store charges $2.00 per episode, just like the Xbox Live Marketplace, but there is the option to buy the entire season at a discount. Microsoft and their content providers have to come up with a similar offer for every day that goes by without it, they're losing money. And worse, they're pissing people off. People who otherwise rave about the service night and day.