New Xbox 360 bundles: For richer, for poorer

GameStop unveils $4,499 package with all the fixins'; Costco goes simple with $479 deal.

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The flurry of Xbox 360 bundles that has infiltrated the market has recently hit both a new high and a new low. Most bundles announced aim to please the gaming moderate, with deals inflating the standard prices by adding a few games and accessories.

But that's not always good enough for some buyers. One of the major complaints about retailers' bundles are the limited choices of extras. Most don't appear to target a specific gamer, such as the sports fan or action fan, bundling games from disparate genres, such as realistic racer Project Gotham Racing 3 with kid-friendly Kameo: Elements of Power.

Of course, someone somewhere (perhaps the Sultan of Dubai) harped about the fact that these bundles don't have enough and should include everything, cost be damned.

Both of these complaints were recently addressed with the announcements of two very different bundles from two very different retailers.

Costco has announced its first Xbox 360 bundle, which has lit up message boards ("Other game sites should feel embarrassed" reads one, post) because of its gamer-friendly price. The $479.99 deal includes the Xbox 360 Premium package, a bonus wireless controller, a play-and-charge kit for the controller, and Project Gotham Racing 3. By contrast, GameStop's cheapest bundle is $699, and it only features the HDD-less version of the console. However, the price is only available to those with a Costco membership. A nonmember price adds 5 percent, for a price tag of just over $500.

The difference between this bundle and other previously announced bundles? Value. The total retail price of each component combined would total just under $520, before tax. Other deals cost more than $600 and save gamers just under 20 dollars.

For those gamers who recently won a state lottery or had a wealthy relative kick the bucket, GameStop offers a deluxe version of their Omega bundle. The standard Omega bundle, which is priced at $2,000, already includes the Xbox 360 Premium Pack, 20 games, three additional wireless controllers, and just about every accessory announced.

The new deal costs a whopping $4,499. So what does the extra $2,499 get gamers? After working with Dell, GameStop has added a 42-inch plasma monitor to the bundle, making it almost everything a hardcore gamer will need with just one click. However, the deal apparently won't save gamers much more than that extra mouse click. The 42-inch screen retails for the difference--$2,499--from Dell's Web site.

The Xbox 360 launches in North America on November 22.

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