Though the pricing structure of the Xbox 360 and its multiple SKUs has caused a stir among consumers, that was before specialty North American retailers revealed their preorder bundles for the system at even higher prices. Mandatory for purchasing the console at all from retailers such as GameStop and EB Games, the bundles include multiple games and accessories on top of the standard hardware.
Both GameStop and EB offer variants on their basic bundles: EB Games is selling a Core Bundle at $599.93 that includes the Core system with its wired controller and composite cables, alongside an extra wireless controller, a memory unit, and four 360 games. Since it's up in the air exactly which games will be available at launch, both retailers are issuing the caveat that games may be eliminated or replaced, and preorder customers will be given the opportunity to cancel their orders. An Ultimate bundle offers all the extra accessories and games alongside the Premium System for $100 more.
GameStop, for its part, is setting sights slightly higher: its cheapest bundle is the Core one at $699.91, which includes the Core system, a memory unit, five games, and a 1-year warranty. The Silver bundle again replaces the Core system with the Premium version for $100 more, but sneakily eliminates the memory unit. GameStop's most egregious bundle is the Ultimate pack: for $1,199.83, gamers can get the Premium system, an extra wireless controller, a 12-month Xbox Live subscription, and a whopping 11 games.
Both retailers are following in the tradition of bundles made popular most recently with Nintendo's and Sony's next-generation handheld launches: to ensure better business, specialty retailers are more commonly requiring purchases of games and accessories with system launches, assuming that early adopters will be already be willing to front the necessary costs to have the first systems. However, larger multi-faceted retailers such as Target, Fry's, and Wal-Mart will likely have supplies of the consoles without mandatory extras to buy, though pre-ordering may not be possible.