I’ve never been one of those folks who are so enamored with a particular game console and/or company that they refuse to admit when something is terribly screwed up with the object of their affection.  If I take note of something seriously messed up with a console/company that I like, then I will call them out on it.  I mean, sure, some of these companies have provided us gamers with great games and memories, but at the end of the day ya gotta remember that YOU PAID for it.  They work for us, and their blatant attempts at unnecessarily milking the gaming public for every penny they can should always be made note of and questioned.  Especially in this day and age when we’re paying a lot more for systems and getting a lot less in return.

Once upon a time (like back in the days of the Atari 2600 and NES) when you bought a new gaming console, you were getting everything that you needed to enjoy the system: Console, two Controllers, AC Adapter, RF Switch, A/V Cables, and a free game or two.  As the years went by, pack-in games, and even more absurdly, RF Switches began to disappear, as did a second controller.  I suppose the greedy gaming companies began to think why should we pack that other stuff in, when we can keep the cost of the system high, make things like much-needed RF Switches proprietary and sell them separately at inflated prices?  Whatever their delusional justification, it all comes down to giving gamers the short end of the stick, and lining their already fattened pockets with even more cash.  But I’m beginning to somewhat digress…

NES Action Set

What's crazy, is that this standard NES set actually came with more than what's pictured.

What really set me off about this whole topic is the upcoming release of Microsoft’s Xbox.  Ya know, it’s one thing when you have to buy stuff like extra controllers, memory cards, and RF Switches in order to enjoy your new gaming system, but when you have to buy extra stuff just to unlock some of the features that your new console proudly advertises, something is wrong.  In the case of the Xbox, I am referring to its DVD feature.

See, the Xbox software will be stored on 4.5 GB DVD discs (just like the PlayStation 2), and as an added feature of the console’s greatness, the machine will also support the playback of DVD movies (also like the PlayStation 2).  However, unlike the PS2, the Xbox won’t allow you to play DVD movies right out of the box.  Instead, you will have to purchase the DVD Movie Playback Kit, which will unlock the feature in the Xbox hardware.  That’s right, your new whiz-bang game machine that plays games and DVD movies will require you to spend an extra $29 on top of the $299 that you already spent, just so you can unlock all of its built-in features.  I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong.  Especially coming from a company like Microsoft who has an unlimited amount of funds to work with.  It’s not like they have to stoop to such cheap tactics just to keep their company afloat.

Looking at how this is just getting worse with every console launch, I can’t help but wonder what will be next.  Perhaps the next generation of gaming systems will require you to purchase kits of unlocking before you can use the other controller ports besides the first one?  Or maybe the On/Off and Reset buttons will be sold separately for a cool $50 bucks?

Give me a damn break…