Allard tries to justify Xbox 360 HD pricing
After the prices of the console itself, the item that generated the most interest on Microsoft's pricing announcement was the sky-high price people would have to pay for a separate hard disk drive. Many folks thought £70 UK for a HD was an extortionate amount, even taking into account the 2.5 inch size of the drive itself. In a recent online interview, J Allard, Corporate VP and public Xbox 360 head-honcho, tried to justify the company's pricing policy on the HD unit.
"The 20GB hard drive is a 2.5 inch user serviceable drive and is more expensive than a PC 'crack the box' drive," Allard said. "That's one of the reasons we pushed to create a compelling premium bundle. Also, one of the reasons that we designed a user removable hard drive is in direct response to the hard core gaming audience to make it easier to take game saves, game maps, soundtracks, etc. to their friend's house or LAN party."
He then went on to try and alleviate concerns that the lack of a hard drive in the value bundle would adversely effect loading times.
"We have been talking with game developers for a while now to make sure that games will load efficiently without a hard drive present. In terms of load times, as a gamer I am super-sensitive to how frustrating load times can be, which is one of the reasons we put in a dual layer 12x DVD in the system to make sure gamers get great performance with or without a hard drive. One of the challenges with new optical formats when they first come out is the performance of the media which was a consideration when we decided what the optical format to use for Xbox 360."
The HD issue looks like it will go on and on, even after the Xbox 360's release. There's no doubt that MS have over-priced the HD unit (an 80GB laptop HD can be had for £70) and there are already a number of games which have been confirmed as requiring the HD's presence before they will run. For example, today it was revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI will require the drive to operate. MS will be hoping the ongoing confusion will not adversely effect sales of the console.