Confirming whether that new Xbox 360 you’re about to purchase is a “Jasper,” one of the newly improved systems featuring a 65nm CPU that runs cooler and uses less power, can be difficult considering there’s not any marking on the packaging to clearly, easily distinguish them from their red ring of death-prone brethren. Is this an oversight or has Microsoft purposefully, deliberately chosen not to place the model type on the front of the box for all to see?
The gadget gurus over at Ars Technica posed this very question to group product manager Aaron Greenberg, and his response is a thrilling game of read between the lines:
“I have to be careful about how I answer this,” said Greenberg when asked point blank if putting the model type on the box has ever been discussed back at Microsoft HQ. “We have focused really hard on improving the quality of our products, including the internal components, new types of things internally. Unfortunately we don’t get and share the exact specifics of that… I know your site and your readers are much more sophisticated than the average public, but for the most part, we believe the type of consumer that’s buying an Xbox today, they should be able to buy with confidence. They shouldn’t, you know, get hung up on the internal components of the device.”
I understand not wanting to make a big deal out of it, as changing the external packaging would send the message that all previous models are inferio,but all previous models are inferior. It seems like Microsoft doesn’t want to draw any additional attention to the Xbox 360’s widely-reported, extensively-documented and personally-experienced hardware problems just in case some poor casual gamer out there has yet to hear about the RROD, which is both sensible and sneaky.
Of course, their reluctance to clue in the market at large isn’t going to stop hardcore Jasper-searchers from bending, shifting and tearing their way to the power rating on the console — find a “2,1A” peeking through the cutout on the back of the box and you’ve found the proverbial golden ticket — but it’s sad such manhandling is required to ensure the purchase of a non-crappy console. Keeping the bad systems on the market while not telling us how to identify the good systems might be good for Microsoft’s bottom line, but it’s a classic dick move. Don’t even get me started on the disc scratching issue.