Microsoft Stores will be offering a $99 Xbox 360 console package with a two-year monthly subscription.
The cell-phone subscription model in the U.S.A. works as follows: in order to purchase a shiny new iPhone 4s or Galaxy S III at a subsided price, new customers must enter into a two-year contract agreement with their wireless carrier of choice. It’s a business strategy that – despite many an angry-fist-shaking over paying an outrage sum for crappy reception (or poo-poo data caps) – has worked its voodoo quite well for AT&T and Co. for several years.
Now, Microsoft, no doubt trying to pinch every last Xbox 360 dollar before releasing their next console, is planning on doing their own subscription model with the Xbox 360 that’s available through Microsoft Stores (yes, they have those, I had to Google it, but they do, indeed, have them) across the country. Here’s the bottom-line, for $99 upfront, you’ll get a 4GB Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor. A $200 savings overall.
Of course, remember its a subscription plan folks, meaning users must pay $14.99 per month for the next two-years (early termination fees do apply and Microsoft has the right to end the deal at any time) in order to get that low, low price. In return though, you will be getting access to a Xbox Live Gold membership, so when you think about it, it’s a neat no-worries package that takes care of all your gaming needs. Kind of like The Matrix, except not depressing and without that weird plug-thing-y on the back of your head.
The long turn cost breakdown between this Xbox deal and buying each piece separately is pretty interesting. Cynically, you might think that those going the subscription route would get rightfully ripped off; not at all. When doing the math (okay, when someone else does the math), subscription-ers only end up paying $459 in total after the 24-month contract ends, as opposed to $420 for customers who don’t.
That’s amazingly only a $39 difference. Plus when you factor in the early termination fee, which by-the-way gets gradually smaller as every month in the two-year contract passes, I think this could be a very tempting deal to those looking to score a Xbox 360 on the cheap. Again. “Could.” The offer is only found at Microsoft Stores, and who knows if people will go out of their way to go there (I’m not even sure if there’s any in my own state).
I guess we’ll just have to see if anyone bites in the coming weeks, and whether this sort of cell-phone business model can work for a video game console. An amusing experiment, indeed. You know what else is amusing, my friends? These 30 of the best “Draw Something” drawings (it’s a fun game, oh and it’s free!) and Chris Lange’s set of Punch-Out! collages.