1. Three 360s is one too many. Currently there are two Xbox 360 models available, and that's already a stretch. Yeah, it's about choice, but it's also about reducing confusion when presenting a prospective buyer with a product. Having three SKUs available to consumers makes it seem like Microsoft doesn't know what it wants to be. Hardcore gamers (like many of you reading this) are sure to do their due diligence when deciding on a game system, but keep in mind that hardcore gamers are the minority. Most gamers purchase a platform with very little research other than selecting which system supports the game(s) they want play.
2. It's still cheaper than the PS3. Cheap is a good thing. But for something to be considered "Elite," in theory it should probably also be the most expensive product on the market. Try as Microsoft may, when looking at price alone, PS3 still has the "elite" advantage when viewed by the affluent upper-class, the same class the $479 Elite is aimed at. Sure, the $499 PS3 just died and $299-399 Xbox 360 models will still prevail, but Microsoft's price advantage over the PS3 just got a whole lot smaller.
3. No wireless networking. C'mon. This is just inexcusable. Even the DS with its 12 year-old computing technology supports wifi. There's no excuse for what's being dubbed as "elite" not to include this inexpensive, widely used networking standard. Microsoft can pimp "choice" all they want on this one, but who doesn't want wi-fi? Sample: "No, I don't ever want wireless networking, so don't make me pay the $10 wholesale price of adding it." Preposterous.
4. The current 10 million 360 owners are getting the shaft. Microsoft says the Elite isn't aimed at existing customers but for niche HD enthusiasts who still don't own an Xbox 360. Fair enough, but didn't Microsoft just get done telling existing 360 owners that bigger hard drives and HDMI video were unnecessary? Why the sudden shift in philosophy? Even new Elite owners may be getting the shaft as Microsoft will continue to optimize all Xbox Live Marketplace content for the 20GB hard drives, possibly making the Elite's 120GB drive a moot point. And by further segmenting the Xbox 360 platform, no one version benefits as game developers must consider each when developing games and testing hardware. The largest common denominator typically wins.
5. It will still be really loud. By not including a more efficient, cooler-running 65 nanometer processor, we assume the Elite will continue to pump out an irritating racket when turned on, primarily due to its noisy cooling fan. Usually, loud-running consumer electronics are more akin to discount products, not the high-class "elite" as the name implies. This will totally ruin our experience while we drink Cristal and listen to Vivaldi (yes, we're audio snobs).
6. No HD-DVD bundle. Is the Elite trying to be a multimedia device or not? Not including an HD-DVD drive just feels underdeveloped, and something Microsoft could have used to juice up excitement for the Elite. Of course, we can't help but suspect that the increasing popularity of Blu-ray had something to do with the decision to exclude HD-DVD this time around. Furthermore, the add-on drive will not be released in black for Elite owners still wanting HD-DVD support. That'll look real classy on your entertainment center; the black-and-white cookie look is so in this year.
7. Someone tell Microsoft that white is the "new black." Sure, Microsoft needs to differentiate from ghostly white Wiis and pastel-colored Apple products, but white -- not black -- is where the good stuff is right now in consumer electronics. Microsoft wisely went with white the first time around, so why the change without letting Elite owners decide on a color? And don't even try to sell a monochrome variation at a premium. Since when did I have to pay more for a black car?
8. The machine isn't intended for gamers. Ultimately, the Elite has nothing to do with enhancing the gameplay experience; it's for multimedia whores. HDMI, a larger hard drive, new movies and TV content? Great. Remind me why the gamer in me cares? How will the Elite improve my games? From a game saving and demo download standpoint, a 20 GB hard drive is more than enough (hint: you were right the first time, Microsoft). After all, despite whom Elite is being pitched to, gamers are the ones really buying the product.
The only thing "elite" about Microsoft's new Xbox 360 is its price. At $480, it's just $20 shy of the once-available, now-defunct 20GB PS3. Shedding the contrarian in me, the extra hard drive space and bundled HDMI support (including cable) is nice from a non-gamer standpoint. DVD upscaling is appreciated too. But as a gamer, it's hard to get excited about the Elite. And this isn't to say it won't sell; we just wish it was selling "more" to gamers.