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Monday, November 22, 2010

Buyer’s Guide to Xbox 360 Vol. 01

The other night I was asked by a friend about the Xbox 360 because he’s about to buy them.
Well “Mamo” here’s what I can offer you all about The Box and its differences here in KSA.

First off, you have to know enough knowledge on what you are buying so to begin here’s a brief history about the box.

It was first presented in 2005 in the United States of America and went worldwide, back then, the only major drawback of the device was the Red Ring Of Death also known as RROD.

How it happens?
Well this is how it goes, the on switch button will lit 3 quadrants of the ring in red color and from that, your box will no longer operate any games as well as accessing the dashboard.

Why it happens?
It usually happens by several reasons within the system’s hardware components. It could be overheating, core processor issue or video card malfunctions.

Fortunately, Microsoft has been kind enough to take actions on fixing the problem since its date of release; it wasn’t later after almost 3 years that they have stabilized the situation and brought better solutions in preventing it to appear on later releases. Although consumers who had their devices bought from release date till 2008 were granted a 3 year warranty in case if the RROD appears.

As a proof, I bought my Xbox 360 Pro in March 2008 and I still didn’t have an RROD. So it seems that the later devices will work better knowing so.

Types of Boxes

Now that we dealt with the technical concerns (which it used to be my major fear on the console), we’ll get to the different types of Xbox 360 models which usually are in the KSA market.

First off we have the Arcade edition; this is the most affordable out there. It includes a standard white wireless controller (rechargeable battery not included), an adaptor, 2 games and AV cable and a headset. However, hard drive is not included. (Currently ranging between 700 to 800 SAR)

Second, Pro Edition, this includes a standard white wireless controller, an adaptor, 2 games (I got Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures), AV Cable, headset and a 60 gig hard drive. Currently the price range between 800 to 900 SAR.

Third, Elite Edition, among the previous mentioned boxes that comes in white colored consoles, this baby comes in black form and includes a black wireless controller, an adaptor, 2 games, AV Cable, headset and a 120 gig hard drive. Currently the price range between 900 to 1000 SAR.

Forth, Super Elite, they only come in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Final Fantasy 13 editions. Limited numbers only so if you get lucky you’re in for a treat on this one. The FF13 comes in white colored console, includes 250 gig hard drive, 2 white wireless controller, black headset, one month Xbox live (XBL) membership subscription, adaptor, HDMI cable, Final Fantasy 13 game, Chocobo avatar pet, exclusive avatar costumes (Roche and Nabaat) and a faceplate of Lightning for the console.
COD: Modern Warfare 2 includes, Black console with MW2 faceplate, 250 gig hard drive, 2 black wireless controllers, black wired headset, adaptor, Ethernet cable, 1 month gold membership in XBL, 1 month trial in Netflix. Current price range is around 1200 to 1300 SAR.
(So the bottom line is their main perk is the 250 gig hard drive)

Fifth, the S model also known as the Slim (Current version), this was released this year with major makeover (which I will include it on a different article). This new device will include a glossy black console, 250 gig hard drive, black wireless controller, black head set, AV cable, one month XBL gold membership, 1 year Limited Express Warranty. Current price range around 1600 to 1700 SAR.

Other consoles…?

Yeah, for standards, this country only offers PAL systems due to some global regional control issues also known as Regional lockout. Other systems like NTSCJ and NTSC are sold on selective shops like Eagle Software or Computer House to name a few and they can be a bit expensive than PAL boxes and with no warranties. While Jarir bookstore sells only PAL games, other shops tend to sell NTSC and NTSCJ games for special reasons. But if you’re in luck, some games can be region free like HALO game or Assassin’s Creed games to name a few.

So which one should I buy?

It only depends on how much you can afford at the moment; seriously, you should not rush in buying them all at once if you can’t afford them. Take Arcade edition for example, go buy that first and whenever you’re ready to buy the hard drive or an HDMI cable for some modifications then go for it. Be advised though that the free games included are usually standard selections and if you know how to bargain or make a deal with the retailer then good luck.

So about the Xbox Live….

This is where the console specializes; simply I can say is it’s a colorful and fun place. You can edit your avatar, watch videos and connect friends who also have Xbox live account, play with people online, download game demos, access facebook and twitter and interact friends with chatting and playing and many more. There are two types of membership and they are Silver and Gold and the only differences between them are that Silver doesn’t provide an online multiplayer mode and it’s free. Gold on the other hand allows you to play online multiplayer mode and participate on special events and even win in XBL but will cost some money for subscription. Current price for Gold membership range 200 to 250 SAR.

What about Xbox Live Arcade?

Aside from retail games, there are games that sold in Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), some are new ones and some are back in the old school times. In addition to XBLA games, they also have previous Xbox 360 games and old Xbox title for a reduced price. They can be bought by Microsoft Points (MS Points) which can be bought in stores or via credit cards depending on how much MS Points you want to you buy. Current prices are 120 SAR 1600 MS Points & 190 to 210 SAR for 3000 MS Points.

What are suitable accessories you can recommend?

First of I have to recommend buying a rechargeable battery for your controller, playing numerous hours might cost you money buying AAs in a month when you can save it for buying a rechargeable one that will last for several years. If you’re an avid on typing messages, check the Messenger kit, the keyboard will come very handy. HDMI Cable, better on the eye? Sure why not?! So if you want better viewing, connect your console on monitors or TVs. These accessories won’t cost more than 100 SAR each so it’s really a nice price for better innovation. However, among the most important accessories that cost more than 100 SAR is the Detachable Hard Drive, now if you bought an Arcade version, I would highly advise to get this one and the higher capacity the better (suppose 120 or 250 gig hard drive).
Estimated price are between 300 to 600 SAR.

So “Mamo” I hope you’ve got enough info on this. For more info and questions please do let me know.

Happy gaming people!