Follow the link to see the prices Microsoft have announced for the release of the Xbox 360. It is interesting to see that they will launch with two price points. I think this comes down to meeting 'magic numbers' in price psychology in each territory.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see how these numbers convert into Australian dollars. Microsoft hasn't (and won't) say anything because I don't believe we're part of the simultaneous worldwide lauch (if someone can show me otherwise I'm interested). Everything I've read is North America/Europe/Japan by Christmas 2005.
This is complete speculation!
Taking these exchange rates on the prices quoted here leads to a price point of $394~$500 on the core system and $526~$667 on the 360 package. I haven't included GST here, so adding another 10% and aligning us with a higher weighting towards the US price suggests $449 is the price point Microsoft would aim for on the core package, keeping it below the psychological barrier of $500. However the 360 package would $599 at a minimum which justifies Microsoft's reason for choosing to offer a core package. Unfortunately the core package probably wouldn't be able to play Xbox games, lacking the hard drive, which severely limits its utility in my opinion.
Here's hoping our currency holds out, otherwise no next-gen console for you, .au shoppers, unless you have deep pockets :(