First off, congratulations for everyone who was able to get an Xbox 360 Arcade w/ $100 Gift-Certificate for $200 yesterday, whether you waited in line or bought online.
I mentioned it in our first coverage of the Walmart Saturday sale, but for the lucky people who were able to get an Xbox 360 Arcade, we recommend "upgrading" the Arcade through two small purchases:
- Xbox 360 20GB Hard-Drive, 3-Month Xbox Live Gold Trial and Headset for $50 at Buy.com
- 6' HDMI cable for $5 at Monoprice (only if you have a TV w/ HDMI inputs)
The Arcade version of the Xbox 360 does not come with a hard-drive and while you don't technically need a hard-drive to play the Xbox 360 games, one is highly recommended so that you can download new game material (new maps, Xbox Live Arcade games, etc.) and save your game progress. When you consider a 512MB Xbox 360 memory card costs $30, a 20GB Hard-Drive for $50 is a no-brainer.
I have an Xbox 360 w/ a 20GB hard-drive and it is more than enough space for me. Only the hard-core gamers really require the 120GB hard-drive. Even so, if you want the hard-drive, it's only $135 at Walmart.com, which is still around $60 cheaper than the price of an Xbox Elite console (figuring in the $100 gift-card discount).
For everyone who was unable to get the Xbox 360 Arcade at their local Walmart store (or at Walmart.com), there is good news: the deal is good through Sunday, November 15th.
If your local Walmart store did not receive a shipment of consoles (we received numerous reports of this), there is a chance you can still get the deal when the next shipment arrives. We recommend calling your local Walmart and asking when they expect another shipment in.
If the sale goes online again at Walmart.com, we will definitely post an update.
For everyone who is unsure if they got one through Amazon, make sure that your receipt lists a "Lightning Deal -$.01" discount. If this is present (see image to the right), then you qualified for the gift-card.
Update: Apparently Amazon is emailing people informing them if they qualified for the $100 gift-card, regardless of whether or not the $.01 discount showed up. Be sure to contact them before canceling your order so that you don't accidentally cancel an order that was valid!
If the discount is not present, then you did not qualify for the gift-card and we strongly suggest you cancel your order because without the gift-card, this is NOT a hot deal.
Amazon was either horribly unprepared for the demand of the sale or are high-fiving each other for their brilliant plan of misleading customers and selling thousands of Xbox 360 consoles without a gift-card.
The fact that the only indication of receiving the gift-card was a one-cent discount at checkout (something that could be easily over-looked) and that the sale lasted, at most, a couple minutes (compared to a couple hours for Walmart) has us very disappointed in how everything turned out.
Compared with Walmart's checkout process (where you had to customize the gift-card and then add to your cart), Amazon's handling of their "Lightning Sale" seems shady and dishonest. Amazon wants to compete with the big brick-and-mortar retailers this Holiday season, but at the moment, Amazon's bark is a lot louder than their bite.