According to talk now going around, Microsoft will be launching a new Xbox 360 bundle next week, one which will get you a 4GB Xbox 360 console and a Kinect sensor for only $99. There is, however, a catch.
That catch? You’ll also have to pay a monthly fee, which will be $15 according to rumors of this new offer posted over on The Verge. Think of it as a similar situation to purchasing a cellphone, where the cost of the phone is subsidized by a contract and monthly fee.
There’s be a contract here as well—two years. For that two years of $15 a month fees, you’d get Xbox Live Gold, “possibly some additional streaming content from cable providers or sports package providers”, and a 2-year warranty (versus the standard 1-year).
So, how does the math break down? Here are the two options:
4GB Xbox 360 + Kinect: $299
2 years of Xbox Live Gold: $120
Extended warranty (Xbox 360): $25
Extended warranty (Kinect): $25
4GB Xbox 360 + Kinect: $99
Two years of $15 monthly fees: $360
Initially, the $99 Xbox 360 offer might sound crazy due to the monthly fee—but as you see in the numbers above, it’s actually not a terrible deal. Of course, most people aren’t going to go for the extended warranty, and I myself have never paid full price for Xbox Live Gold (I always nab it via sales for $30 ~ $40)—so taking that into account, you could probably get Option #1 for $380 or so.
Still, it isn’t bad all things considered. It gives the Xbox 360 the perception of having an amazingly low retail price, and it helps customers get into the console easier than it might be for them to just drop $300 right off the bat.
There is one final catch according to The Verge, however: An early termination fee for those who decide they want to break their contract. That’s where this whole things starts to kind of give me the creeps. I hate contracts when it comes to my cellphone—I don’t now want them for my video games as well! Sure, here it’s an option, but I can absolutely believe a company like Microsoft would love to have this be the norm for their next generation of consoles.