Incidentally - we were excited when we saw Big W had the premium pack for 628 on the launch Thursday, but Dick Smiths at Macquarie currently have the premium pack for 615 - 35 bucks off! My preorder was $650, but I got it at 20 past 12 on Thursday morning, so there were perks. Sorta.
Was it worth the money? YES!
The new dashboard is fast and easy. Having universal voice chat connectivity in private channels through Live - even while loading games or playing different games - is just brilliant. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea.
I miss the MSN Messenger alerts though, which made it easier to work out when to hop over to the Xbox when someone you needed to play was online.
It's a bit loud when playing a game, but I don't usually notice because the game sound is bone crunchingly good - I haven't heard a dodgy game yet.
Anyway, I picked up and have played these quality titles, which I can now recommend:
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) - cinematic, exhilarating, beautiful. They've done so much with the console controller, but kept it usable and playable. The AI of your teammates is the only bit I'd suggest is questionable, to the point of being uh... challenged. But it's thoroughly engrossing, and I haven't yet played online, which I've read is the best online you can get...
PGR3 - at first, I was a bit upset that the slow cars disappeared from Project Gotham Racing 2. Now, I don't even notice they're gone. Pretty much summed up in one word: wow. And fast. Perhaps wowfast. It's good, either way. Playing Online Career on Live can be a challenging at off-peak times because the race start timer resets when anyone joins or leaves (which is just a little bit silly, IMHO), but the waits are well worth it. And Playtime live matches are fun, and no waiting. Definitely, definitely worth owning.
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved - let me be clear: I suck at PGR2's Geometry Wars ("Retro"). 39,000 points was all I was ever good for. But Evolved is slightly slower to ramp up, and I'm hovering around 130K now... I need to make the 250. Must make the 250. I know I can do it. It's addictive, compelling, and has a thumping soundtrack. Excellent to play to warm up for just about anything else!
Burnout: Revenge - good in a maniacal sort of way, and they've fixed many of the problems I had with earlier versions. Looks great, plays great, is great.
I'm currently spoiled by having too many games and not enough time. And Oblivion just out too.
If elected I solemnly promise no further technical content until FY07.