HD Not Always In Xbox 360

HD Not Always In Xbox 360

As previously reported in Next Generation’s Xbox 360 technical
specs, Microsoft’s J. Allard has confirmed to Game Informer, that it is
unlikely that all Xbox 360s will have a hard drive.
As Allard told Game Informer "It’s not something we’re ready to
announce yet. "I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all [approach] over
the next five year-horizon. We’ve said ‘Don’t bank on the hard drive
always being there’. There may be a scenario in the future where we
don’t want a hard drive, and in that case, we have to makes sure the
games that you’ve created are accessible to the broadest possible
audience."

In Next Generation’s Xbox 360 technical specs
printed more than two months ago (and written closer to three months
ago), Next Generation noted that Microsoft has been telling developers
and publishers not to assume that the hard disk would always be in the
unit and that games must be able to function without such a device.

Furthermore,
conversations between Microsoft execs and publishers indicated that the
decision to have a hard drive in the original Xbox was certainly a
defining reason why Microsoft would be less competitive with regard to
hardware pricing in the tail end of the cycle. The costs of having such
a drive are too high to allow the Xbox to compete at sub-$100 price
points. Indeed, recent reports from Wedbush Morgan would also indicate this to be the case.
 
Many
publishers Next Generation spoke with believe that the hard disk and
pricing issues are one of several factors that pushed Microsoft to try
to jump ahead of Sony in the release of hardware in the coming
generation. If this conjecture is true, it would only make sense
to not make the same decision with regard to hard drive support with
Xbox 360 (or at least have flexibility on the matter).

Wedbush
and Piper Jaffray have been pointing toward two
different launch SKUs for Xbox 360. The differences
between SKUs are as yet unknown but conjecture has pointed to hard
disk differences (either in size or inclusion at all). Allard’s
comments above seem to indicate that the hard disk could be dropped
later in the cycle to maintain price competitiveness, though it remains
to be seen if it will be ubiqitious on day one.