Here’s the skinny:
- You’ll shell out $99 for an Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect.
- You’ll have to agree to a two-year, $15-per-month Xbox Live Gold contract.
- You’ll have to go to an actual Microsoft store to get the offer (see locations).
- Early termination fees range from $250 down to $12, shrinking a bit each month after your first three months of ownership (details here).
- Microsoft says this $99 deal is a “promotional offer” that can be canceled at any time.
Aside from possible early termination fees, another obvious downside is that you have to swing by one of Microsoft’s retail store to get the deal. Right now, those stores are only found in a handful of states. It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft decides to eventually roll this out in its online store as well – perhaps the company wants to make sure there are plenty in stock for the retail locations and/or gauge consumer interest in the deal.
As The Verge points out, “this bundle will cost $458.76 over the course of two years (before taxes), as compared to a $299 bundle bought outright, plus two years at $59.99 per year for Xbox Live Gold, which can often be found at a discount.” You didn’t think Microsoft was looking to merely break even on this deal, did you?
Now we wait to see how well this increases Xbox 360 sales – my guess is not much unless (until?) this gets rolled out to more than Microsoft’s retail stores – and whether similar subsidization options from other gaming companies become commonplace in the future.