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Xbox 360 for $99 with Xbox Live contract is now official

Subsidized Xbox hardware is now being sold on the Microsoft Store site

Xbox 360, as rumored last week, is now being sold for the low price of $99... with a catch. A two-year contract for Xbox Live at the rate of $15 per month is required.

The deal, which appears to be US-only, is available at Microsoft Stores and provides consumers with another entry point into the Xbox ecosystem. The 4GB Xbox 360 hardware bundled with Kinect for just $99 is sure to appeal to college students, and other customers looking for cheaper gaming consoles.

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That said, while the upfront cost is cheaper, over the long-term it's more expensive. The two-year contract plus $99 console bundle comes to a total of $460, whereas a 4GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle can be purchased for $277 on Amazon currently. Adding two years of Xbox Live Gold on top of that would still be under $400.

It's certainly an interesting move by Microsoft, and with Wii U launching by the end of this year, the company is going to want to experiment with some pricing structures to put the pressure on Nintendo. If consumers embrace the business model, it's possible that we'll be seeing many more subsidized consoles in future.

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Latest comments (7)

Mats Holm Technical Writer, Electronic Arts4 years ago
I would not be the least bit surprised if this is how the next gen systems are launched.
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James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz4 years ago
Completely agree Mats. It's all about the service. They'll make more money charging everyone more for Xbox Live. And even though it's a more expensive option over those two years, many will like the low upfront cost, like financing a new car with little money down.
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Spencer Franklin Concept Artist 4 years ago
But is it worth it at the end of the current systems life cycle? I think I'd hop on board with a next gen, but not lock myself in for the 360...
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Show all comments (7)
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
I'm guessing that existing Xbox Live Gold accounts might be usable for the next gen as well, basically covering both consoles. So if you're going to jump in to the next gen immediately it comes out, what this is really getting you is a cheap way to have the use of a 360 for a year or so while you're waiting. Or rather, it would get you that if the subscription were a lot closer to the standard subscription price.

But I don't think it's aimed at that crowd. This really looks to me like an upgrade from a Wii. For a certain type of consumer (one with little ready cash or who doesn't do lifetime cost calculations) who wants to move on from his Wii, this is going to look pretty darn attractive when sitting next to a Wii U.
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James Butterworth IT Hardware & Software 4 years ago
I see that's just for the 4GB version. What if you wanted the 250GB version, will they offer this at $120 - $150 or somewhere around that mark?

It'd cost you even more if you wanted a HDD upgrade in the future. I could never use a 4GB console, not enough storage, especially not with all the download only future hype, it's soon going to be obsolete.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
It's a terrible deal unless you can't add or are clueless as to how these contracts work, so it pisses me off that this is CLEARLY aimed at a less-educated consumer or a kid who's going to see "$99" and say "$99 DOLLARS!!!" before running home to beg their parents for a system.

Of course, if you grab that paycheck and head for the nearest game shop looking to walk out for maybe $150 - $200 with a new game or two (or hell, some USED games, as that's what I'd do) only to be met with a "Wellllll, it's $99, but you have to have a contract..." line coming from a sales clerk or manager, there will be blood. Well, not really, but someone's going to be pissed.

In case you don't realize, not everyone has a contract device (or a damn smartphone, believe it or not), so trying to squeeze those folks without every detail up front and not in fine print is going to be an uphill battle no matter which company tries this tactic.
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Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Rodeo Games4 years ago
I don't see how it's clearly aimed at the less educated or kids. Unless you live in a cave you'll know this is exactly how phone sales work and how they have done for many years. Anybody who can add knows that buying a phone upfront and then getting a cheaper tariff works out less in the long term but the majority don't actually do it, including myself.

Not that I'm saying it's a good deal, or that I would go for it. But it is interesting... and clever.
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