£500 ? The RRP of a 320gb, albeit with two controllers and a game, is £299.99 when the last one came out @ Game for Gears of War 3. That's a current gen console in mass production in an established market with proven demand, and a 320gb hard drive and 7 year old components in terms of technology.
The RRP of a new Kinect sensor is currently still £129.99. Again we are talking old technology in mass production.
Now, of course, that is RRP, which neither of my examples are sold for right now, but that is because of Microsoft, via distributors, giving 20-30% off the cost price of most first party stuff, so that is being pass along in most cases by the retailers as they fight for the back end of the current market.
New consoles, as we have seen with the Wii U, rarely get sold below RRP at launch for at least a few months, and even then the price difference to the RRP only drops a lot if the console is in trouble, as seen with the early days of the 3DS, Wii U, PS3. It took ages for a 360 real term price drop as the price stayed high but you got more for your money like games etc
Xbox One is current generation pc tech, with a 500gb hd, with a more advanced controller, with the new HD Kinect sensor, and a massive online infrastructure to support it. It's not going to be under £499.99.
Games ? RRP wise we are already at £54.99 for current gen with some stuff climbing higher for various special editions (ultimate team rrp 59.99) and online stuff like Battlefield 4 deluxe via Origin is 54.99. Look at Wii U games on launch, even something months old like Monster Hunter is not much below 40, and at launch it was everything from 40-50 most places, and that's for a DVD title which was a port. Online and at most retailers that are not GAME, I think we will see them about 59.99, but the RRP will be £70 IMO. Whether preowned is supported or not will make zero difference to lower pricing, it's absence will actually just keep prices high - no cheap copies, less sales, less retailers.
As far as unopened purchases, well all that has to happen is to change the terms of the item being sold. Once it becomes a digital copy with a physical backup provided for free then it's quite easy as long as the retailer states so clearly before purchase. You're wrong to begin with in thinking that a consumer who hasn't bought online even has a right to return an item that is not faulty, and if full game downloads via the code become a reality then any argument a consumer could make up about a faulty disc becomes irrelevant as the console will just correct that with a download. As far as distance selling regulations go, UK trading standards actually states on their site that, as long as the retailer states it, digital codes are excluded from distance selling regulations.
If you were an online retailer, currently being battered by rising costs, rising delivery costs etc, and Xbox One offers the chance to just sell codes, and eliminate many costs....what would you do ?
So, there is my reasoning. Microsoft isn't killing gaming, it's in danger of killing itself in the videogame market and taking large chunks of the industry with it. Can Sony resist the urge to ride in and save the day ? Because if the worst aspects of Xbox One come to pass, say good bye to videogames ever getting to the point this generation reached for decades.