Intel has made an interesting move lately by allowing a user to “upgrade” their computer by purchasing a product key which you enter into the BIOS and it will unlock hardware which is turned off by default. What that means is that the computer that the user bought is capable for more speed, but they’ve downgraded it.
I don’t know how to react to this. My initial reaction is outrage. How could they sell you something that is capable of more and force you to pay more to unlock it. Then I started to think more about it. It allows the customer to initially get into the new hardware at a lower cost and then the ease of upgrade is much easier. At least they aren’t doing something where the “upgrade” is only for a year and then it turns itself off.
This led me to gaming consoles. What would happen if Microsoft took this approach with the Xbox 360? In a way they do this already. While the Xbox 360 is network capable, you can’t play online unless you subscribe to Xbox LIVE. In a way, this is an upgrade, and it’s an annual cost.
So, perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing at all, but it still doesn’t sit with me well. It seems dirty somehow.