There is of course the other side of my post above. The mainstream gamer out there may not want a hard drive or wireless controller. They may just want a powerful system they can play games on and not worry about the extra stuff. As a boost to this argument all we have to do is look at Microsoft's MTV special and the OurColony.net movie that came out after the clock went to zero that starts with J Allard saying "You are the colony...blah blah blah".
Although the OurColony.net campaign was skewed more toward the hardcore people, they took a lot of time after saying what was in the Xbox 360 to hone in on what Xbox Live will be like. They talked about such things as video mail, video conferencing, seeing when your friends are on, messaging your friends and basically being connected. That type of idea is geared more toward the mainstream gamer or even the non-gamer. For $300 you can play games and have video conferencing with your friends. Instead of having to go to the computer to instant message your friends, why not use the system you use to play the newest video game?
There is a vast difference between what Microsoft is shooting for and what Sony is shooting for so far. Microsoft, although they will have the hardcore up in arms about the $399.99 price point, has a system that can be sold to the vast legion of people out there interested in its other uses outside of just playing games. For them there is the $299.99 option. Whether Microsoft can market this correctly or not is all up in the air, but this may be their attack to get the people used to Sony's world into their world.
Sony on the other hand has so far been selling the PS3 in much the same way, although at a much more pricey angle. Ken Kutagari has put his foot in his mouth on many occasions, the biggest of which was saying the PS3 is not a gaming system. They haven't really talked about getting the people connected, but more about what an individual can do with this powerful system in front of them on an individual level. For Microsoft it has so far been about the community, with Sony it seems to be about the individual up to this point.
So, for the opposite spin lets think about who Microsoft is trying to target the $300 system to. They know we, the hardcore, will pick the more expensive one if we indeed pick it up. For the rest of the gaming world they have the $300 version that isn't as high tech, but will allow the owner to be connected to their friends in a new way. The one oddball of course are the parents that go out to get the Xbox 360 and don't know which one to get because their child didn't tell them. There could be many unhappy campers in that situation, but I personally am not in that situation to worry about it.