EB Games opens up Xbox 360 preorders

Gamers who thought Microsoft's bundles would lighten their wallets are in for more financial woes as first retailer rolls out 360 bundles.

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When Microsoft announced the two-tiered pricing structure for its contribution to next-gen gaming, the Xbox 360, the shattering sound heard round the world was the simultaneous smashing of piggy banks. At $299 and $399, many gamers may not be seeing the holiday season's hottest toy under their Christmas trees this year.

However, when hot new gaming systems come out, supply is short, and demand is often so high that retailers can elect to sell the units only as parts of bundles that include accessories and games of the retailer's choosing. EBgames.com unveiled its holiday offerings today, and the prices may make some gamers feel as though they're getting "scrooged."

Like Microsoft, EB Games is offering two bundles, one for gamer's interested in the Core System and one for gamers eyeing the premium package. The Xbox 360 Core Bundle is priced at $599.93, and it includes everything in the standard package, plus an extra wired controller, a 64MB memory unit, and four games: Perfect Dark Zero: Limited Edition, Dead or Alive 4, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Kameo: Elements of Power. Using Microsoft's announced pricing for peripherals and an assumed $59.99 price point for Xbox 360 games, the package unbundled would come to $618.94.

The Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle weighs in at just under $700. Gamers (or generous parents) willing to shell out $699.92 will get the Xbox 360 "premium" package, plus an extra wireless controller with a Play & Charge Kit, a rechargeable battery back for wireless controllers, and the four games mentioned above. Doing some quick math, the sum of the bundle's pieces would be $720.93, again assuming a $59.99 price point for games.

After choosing one-day shipping and ordering an Ultimate Bundle within California, the total comes to $777.86.

Each bundle is limited to one order per customer. A similar launch strategy was taken by online retailers for the PSP, but the no-frills Value Pack could be found on store shelves shortly after launch.

Gamers who think this is concrete evidence that DOA4, PGR3, Perfect Dark, and Kameo will be available the day the Xbox 360 is launched may want to think again. Though all are leading candidates to be available when the 360 hits store shelves, fine print at the bottom of the page reveals that "Dates and prices have not been confirmed and are subject to change."

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