More on Console Hard Drives

Since my initial commentary on the rumored new-and-improved X360 with the 120 gigabye HDD and internal HDMI port for the X360, Microsoft has officially acknowledged that the console exists, but insists that it is merely for testing purposes. I believe them. The X360 debug machines that I have use for playing betas when working on strategy guides have had a 60 gigabyte HDD for some time and they too are not available to the public. Yet. And yet is indeed the key word. Without it, there'd be no need to continue the conversation. And besides, the leaked information definitely created quite a buzz thus showing there is demand for such upgrades. Anyway, Frank Regan (whose Chicago Bears will hopefully lose to the Seahawks this weekend) sent me an email about my article about the rumored X360 upgrades. And, as he's done in the past, he's brought up a few good points, which I'd like to address.

First, assuming there is a new MS HDD, it really depends on what they charge existing owners to get it vs. what they charge new console purchases that include it. If the new revamped 360 is still only $400, and I have to spend $100 or more for a new hdd, I’m going to be upset. But will they only charge that much? Right now MS charges $90 for a 20gb hdd, which is just robbery, IMO.

I completely agree. The price they charge for an add-on HDD at retail is a good price, but the size of the HDD is simply too small. MS will indeed risk burning some bridges with customers who purchased their X360 just before a new and improved one is released. Though, I think they're smart enough to know this and will lower the price of the existing X360 at least 4 months prior to the improved console being released at the $399 pricepoint. Also, although it's unpopular to admit it, everything we buy can and will be improved upon and/or offered at a lower price in the future. It's not always fair, but it has to be expected in this day and age. I was not happy that a larger version of the same tv I have was available just 12 months later for $400 less than I paid, but I had to expect that inevitability. This would be no different than buying a PS2 two weeks before a price reduction. You'd feel burned, for sure, but it's inevitable.

Sony lets you easily remove their HDD and replace it with any HDD out there. That’s right, if I want to go and buy a 180gb 2.5” sata drive and install it in a PS3. At least that is what I have read.

If that is the case, then that is indeed good news for Sony PS3 owners. I recall hearing about the ability to swap the innards of the PS3 like the components of a PC before the PS3's launch, but between Sony's track record of making all-things-proprietary and their more recent history of, well, lying about virtually everything as far as it concerns the PS3 I just don't believe it to be true. I don't know a single PS3 owner at the moment so I can't even ask a friend and at this point in the PS3's miserable PR saga, I'm not about to believe anything I see online. But if it's true, then that is very cool indeed and it would definitely be a plus for Sony.

Lastly, you’re assuming I have purchased a memory card in order to move save games from one system to another. I have not. Nor, I would bet, have most people who purchased a Premium system with a HDD in it. With both my 360 and original Xbox, I have never once had the need for a memory card, and would be quite upset if I had to spend $30 just to move my save games from one HDD to another.

No doubt. If you don't already have a Memory Card, you probably aren't going to want to purchase one just for moving a profile from one HDD to another. I have a Memory Card so that I could take my profile and game saves with me to a friend's house if I wanted to, but moreso so that I could ensure my game save files wouldn't be deleted when I'm working on-site on another company's X360. Again, to avoid any backlash, Microsoft could release a free utility that allows you to temporarily transfer you profile and game saves to your PC via the USB port while you make the switch to the newer and bigger HDD. Another possibility is for them to package in a very small Memory Card (say, 8mb) for that purpose with the new HDD. You'd then either have to re-download your Live Arcade games and tv shows, or juggle the two HDD's for a while. I guess, in hindsight, moving everything to the PC with a USB cable is the only way to go.

But this is all hypothesizing at this point because the more I think about it, the less likely I think it is happen anytime soon. Microsoft will definitely be releasing a larger HDD separately soon enough because of the success of the Video Marketplace, but I don't expect an improved console to be released until they are ready to sell the existing premium version for $100 less and they're selling too many of them at the moment to bother lowering the price. Time will tell.

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