By Jeffrey Matulef
The Verge recently announced that Microsoft plans to launch a subsidized 4GB Xbox 360/Kinect bundle as early as next week. The bundle would cost $99 with a two-year contract, stating that subscribers would pay $15 a month for services including access to Xbox Live Gold and possibly some additional streaming content from cable and sports package providers. As per mobile phone services, there will be a penalty for breaking the contract, though it's unknown how much this will be.
A $99 bundle with two years of $15 monthly payment comes out to $459. Comparatively, purchasing the bundle for its retail price ($299) plus two years of Xbox Live Gold ($60 a year) comes out to $419. That makes the final payments of the subsidized model a scant $40 more expensive, with the benefit of having to pay it off over two years instead of all at once.
However, it's unclear what will happen when the contract runs out. It hasn't been stated yet whether the contract simply expires, leaving users with a paid off system and no fees, or if Microsoft will continue charging them $15 a month until they cancel ala phone companies. If you're able to keep the system, cancel the service, and resubscribe to Xbox Live Gold elsewhere, this could be very attractive proposition for a lot of people.
This model could bring about a whole new way of purchasing game consoles, possibly alleviating concerns about the next console generation costing a fortune to embrace.
[Source: The Verge]