Following in the footsteps of cellphone providers, Microsoft has announced that the 4GB Xbox 360 bundle (which comes with Kinect) will be available at the low price of $99…with a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription that will run you $15 a month. A year’s worth of Xbox Live Gold usually costs $60 a year, which is significantly less than the $180 a year this subscription costs. Like cellphone contracts, there is also an early termination fee associated with the $99 bundle’s Xbox Live Gold subscription, which can run consumers as high as $250 if they decide to cancel within the first three months (the fee gets much lower as time goes on, however).
It’s not all bad, though; not only are you getting an Xbox for $99, but you’re also getting Kinect (itself $150) and two years’ worth of Xbox Live Gold as long as you pay the $15 per month subscription fee. In the end, though, the bundle still isn’t worth it; the price of the $99 bundle with two-year subscription ends up being $460, while the price of everything bought separately would be $420.
-Nick’s take: For some, this deal might make sense, but I’d still stick with the traditional ‘buying everything upfront’ model if I were you. If something changes and you can’t pay the $15 per month fee, you could be out a lot of money. Plus, supporting this bundle might give Microsoft the idea that their next-gen system should be offered at this cellphone-like pricing model, which would not be good. The bundle’s only currently available at the 21 Microsoft Store locations in the U.S., too, meaning that it’s unlikely you can even purchase this bundle right now.