The bundle does not include a hard drive, and the Xbox 360 takes a proprietary design, so no random hard drive will do. Sold separately, the 120GB HDD retails for an inflated price of $160. At a total now of $360, this is actually cheaper than the high-end Xbox 360 Elite model, which has the 120GB HDD built in and retails for $400, the same price as the cheapest PS3 model. That $360 price is still a lie, however, as this setup is missing crucial features that must be purchased separately.
No Xbox 360 model comes with wi-fi built in, a ridiculous omission, considering that all the other current-gen consoles and even the handhelds have this feature by default. Instead, Microsoft would rather sell users a $100 dongle as their only supported solution (there are ghetto workarounds for cheaper). Add in an annual $50 Xbox Live fee for online play--another feature that comes free on other platforms--and the total price now stands at $510, which is more than the most expensive PS3 model. If the 120GB HDD is too extravagant, there is the Xbox 360 with 60GB HDD option, which brings the total price down to $470, which is cheaper but still in the same basic range (i.e. luxury).
Then again, I convinced myself to pay an outrageous price for my PS3, and I have not regretted the purchase. So, setting aside the cost for now, I must assess the value of the Xbox 360 in terms of the games it has to offer. Usually, my prerequisite for purchasing a console is that its library must include at least five titles that I definitely want. So far, I've compiled the following list of Xbox 360 games of interest to me:
- Dead Rising (no PS3 version yet announced, but a watered-down Wii port is on the way)
- Lost Planet (available on PS3, but that version is reportedly far inferior)
- Blue Dragon
- Lost Odyssey
- Gears of War series
- Ninja Gaiden II (published by Microsoft, but who knows how much that really means...)
- Tales of Vesperia (99% chance it will come to PS3)
- Star Ocean: The Last Hope (99% chance it will come to PS3)
- Earth Defense Force 2017
Taking away the many question marks, that doesn't leave much. The two Mistwalker titles have received mediocre reviews, and I'm not sure how many more traditional JRPGs I can play anyway. Gears of War is the lone A-list property, and, while I'm intrigued, I've never played it and wouldn't gamble $500 on the chance of my liking it. Overall, the list doesn't stack up favorably against the PS3's potential trump cards in Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain, God of War III, and the eventual next Team ICO project. Really, the one thing making my decision difficult is my desire to play Earth Defense Force 2017, a budget title from Sandlot, the developer of Robot Alchemic Drive, probably my favorite game of the last generation.