Pre-Order Works

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I normally do not do editorials for GiN, but I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts on preordering a Microsoft Xbox gaming system. I did find a way to customize getting screwed, which at least made me less irritated by the end of this process. But I am jumping ahead of myself and will come to that in a few moments.

Every time a new system appears on the radar of the gaming world, I think to myself that I will wait and buy it later on, even though there is one right there in the store with tons of games that I would love to play.

I passed on the PlayStation because I was waiting on the Dreamcast. I waited on the Dreamcast because of the PS2. Well, I finally broke down and said that when the Xbox gets to the stage where I can preorder one I will lay out my $299.00 and get it. Maybe I would pick up a game and an extra controller so that my girlfriend can join me on some of the games. So maybe I am thinking that this endeavor, it will cost me $400 and if I am estimating a little bit high, great. Please remember that number.

Silly…silly boy…you can only get the Xbox through a package deal, I was told everywhere I went. Ok, that is not quite true. There are Websites out there offering the Xbox for as low as $299 with a $10 coupon bringing it down to $289 plus shipping. Forgive me for being a little bit Leary of sending someone a check in September, when I will not see the product until November, so I kind of passed on that idea.

So I started looking at package deals from amazon.com, store.yahoo.com, and kbkids.com. And then I started to do the math on some of these package deals, and the numbers just did not add up. Here is a typical example: an Xbox ($299) with two games ($100) and a second controller ($30) for the low, low price of $475? Hmm"what is happening to my other $45? And beyond the price differences, I could not find a single package deal that I liked. Most of the games lumped into the final package were ones I did not want. Also, aren’t package deals supposed to save you some money, not cost you extra? Silly me…

Let me recap my points here:

Why is Microsoft saying the xbox is $299, when you cannot get it through anything but a package deal costing hundreds more?

What is up with the price of these package deals not matching what you are getting?

Why can’t I configure a package deal that I like?

Why don’t I get a discount when I am forced to buy a package deal?

So, I finally found a company that at least let me customize the fact that I am getting screwed, and they were also kind enough to tell me what everything costs and to have a little box at the bottom keep me updated on my current total. So basically I run through a Web page where I have to select two games from section B (read, the games made by Microsoft that they are forcing you to purchase) one game from section C, and two components from section D. And I know that my price will be $500.

So I run through and pick Halo, because I was going to buy this anyway, and Gotham Racing, because I had to pick something else from that section and everything else on the list pretty much sucked. And I picked Dead or Alive 3 from the next section. The second section was tough, as there were a few games that sounded appealing. All games are about $50. In the final section I picked up a second controller and AV cables. I am sorry, shouldn’t AV cables be included in with the game system? Again, silly me.

I will let you know if it was worth it in November when I review the system for GiN. Right now, I am not sure. At least I was able to get a package deal that I sort of liked. I have to say though that even a few weeks later my butt still hurts from sitting for so long surfing for a deal. I have not seen any preorder numbers yet, but with this package deal thing going on, I have to wonder if Microsoft is going to make as big a splash with the Xbox as Sony did with the PS2. All I know is that after years of fighting it, I broke down and bought yet another Microsoft product.

I hope I made a good decision.

In case anyone is wondering, I was able to customize my package deal at compusa.com (http://www.compusa.com/promos/xbox/). Some other good links are www.xbox.com and www.microsoft.com/xbox/. I have also heard that Funcoland (if you are lucky enough to have one near you) is offering a straight $299 purchase for the Xbox, but that they long since have run out of slots on their reserve list.

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