Microsoft's VP of Interactive Entertainment Business in Europe, Chris Lewis, tells GI.biz that the removal of the HDMI cable from the Elite packaging was to enable more "flexibility to consumers who can then decide which type of cable they want for their specific gaming and TV screen set-up." Pardon us, but that's like saying Sub-Zero ripping out your spine gives your body more "flexibility." Of course, the drawback is that you're dead.

Adding insult to injury, the new Elite bundle isn't just shipping sans HDMI cable, it has no HD cables at all; meaning that consumers now have even more flexibility to purchase better cables. While any old HDMI cable will do (they're cheap too!), the Xbox 360 component cable is proprietary and priced at $40 (as is the VGA cable). Want optical audio with your HDMI? That adapter's proprietary, too -- and $50. In fairness, PS3s don't ship with HD cables either (they do have an optical audio port, though), and that's always been a joke -- a joke that Microsoft is now in on.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.