Microsoft Is Going Ahead With the $99 Xbox 360/Two-Year Subscription Plan

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Posted by Alex (2217 posts) -

Rumors were abound last week that Microsoft was planning some sort of insane-sounding $99 Xbox 360 deal that came encumbered with a two-year subscription contract, and now the console maker has announced exactly that. Those who purchase an Xbox 360 from Microsoft's own retail outlets will be able to buy a new console, complete with an Xbox Live Gold Membership and Kinect, for $99, provided they sign up for a two-year contract with the company.

All this for only $99!* (*$14.99 monthly subscription fee applies. Two-year contract required. This still costs more than a regular Xbox 360 bundle.)

The subscription fee for the contract is $14.99 per-month, which roughly amounts to just under a hundred dollars more than you'd pay for all of the included Xbox stuff up-front. There is also an undisclosed "termination fee" for those who want to break their contract early.

It's a cell phone model as-yet-unused in console gaming, but could be successful for the seven-year-old console, provided people can actually find a Microsoft Store to buy one of these things. The number of nationwide locations for Microsoft Stores is relatively low, though if you happen to live within relative driving distance of Scottsdale, Arizona's beautiful Scottsdale Fashion Square, or one of the two separate locations in New Jersey (wait, what?), then you're in luck.

Once you're done contemplating the irony of this deal for a device that relies heavily on digital content being exclusively available through hard to find brick-and-mortar retail outlets, you can find the complete list of Microsoft Store locations here.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2217 posts) -

Rumors were abound last week that Microsoft was planning some sort of insane-sounding $99 Xbox 360 deal that came encumbered with a two-year subscription contract, and now the console maker has announced exactly that. Those who purchase an Xbox 360 from Microsoft's own retail outlets will be able to buy a new console, complete with an Xbox Live Gold Membership and Kinect, for $99, provided they sign up for a two-year contract with the company.

All this for only $99!* (*$14.99 monthly subscription fee applies. Two-year contract required. This still costs more than a regular Xbox 360 bundle.)

The subscription fee for the contract is $14.99 per-month, which roughly amounts to just under a hundred dollars more than you'd pay for all of the included Xbox stuff up-front. There is also an undisclosed "termination fee" for those who want to break their contract early.

It's a cell phone model as-yet-unused in console gaming, but could be successful for the seven-year-old console, provided people can actually find a Microsoft Store to buy one of these things. The number of nationwide locations for Microsoft Stores is relatively low, though if you happen to live within relative driving distance of Scottsdale, Arizona's beautiful Scottsdale Fashion Square, or one of the two separate locations in New Jersey (wait, what?), then you're in luck.

Once you're done contemplating the irony of this deal for a device that relies heavily on digital content being exclusively available through hard to find brick-and-mortar retail outlets, you can find the complete list of Microsoft Store locations here.

Staff
#2 Posted by Evan_Buchholz (123 posts) -

About time

#3 Edited by fisher81 (535 posts) -

weird

EDIT: NOOOOOOOOO

#4 Posted by BlownSpeakers (17 posts) -

So is this rent to own? or is it just a rental?

#5 Edited by Mr_Skeleton (5145 posts) -

So $460 over two years, for those who don't want to do the math.

#6 Edited by Sackmanjones (4711 posts) -

Yay time to get an XBOX and save some mon...... oh wait...

#7 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

The Best Buy outlet has a refurb 250 GB slim right now for $150. If you don't have much cash right now buy that, get your free month of Gold when you register an account on the system, and then buy a year of Gold for $40 (if you even want it) when it goes on sale in the next 4-6 weeks as it often does. Add a used/sale Kinect for $100 or less when one becomes available, again only if you want it. It's a much better deal and you'll really be glad you have that hard drive. I wouldn't worry about the refurb's 90 day warranty aspect. With the heating problem solved if anything goes wrong it's likely to be in the first month or after a few years.

#8 Posted by gla55jAw (2689 posts) -

I don't understand the point of this.

#9 Posted by WindFall259 (365 posts) -

Huh.

#10 Posted by notdavid (839 posts) -

I'm thoroughly confused by this system. Do you keep it after the two years are up? What happens if you stop paying?

#11 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@Alex said:

[...] if you happen to live within relative driving distance of Scottsdale, Arizona's beautiful Scottsdale Fashion Square[...]

That's where I live and I'm not excited about the subscription plan. Get negative hype.

#12 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

This wouldn't be such a bad deal if the console wasn't already so old.

#13 Posted by Alex (2217 posts) -

@notdavid: I'm pretty sure the only thing you have to renew is the Gold membership. I don't believe they'll take your Xbox from you once the contract's up.

Staff
#14 Posted by Alex (2217 posts) -

@Ravenlight: I refuse to believe that anyone who lives near Scottsdale, Arizona is anything but hyped for EVERYTHING.

Staff
#15 Posted by SuperSambo (2868 posts) -

I can see this deal being useful at the beginning of a life cycle, but at the end?

Who would opt for this?

#16 Posted by LordAndrew (14426 posts) -

I'm rushing out to buy one right now.

#17 Posted by This_Dude (295 posts) -

This is an incredibly silly business model. Especially since there are so few MS Stores.

#18 Posted by Morningstar (2174 posts) -

Sounds like the next xbox will indeed be here in a year then.

#19 Posted by rame (27 posts) -

This is not a consumer friendly model. While the barrier to entry is low $99 as stated in the previous comment after two years you paid $460. Or a savvy consumer could pay $315 for all of what's being offered and not be tied into some payment plan. Unfortunately I believe this is a trend that will continue into the next generation. I'm sure PlayStation will follow suit.

#20 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

New Jersey has more shopping malls per square mile then anywhere else an is squished between 2 major cities and somehow Alex is surprised there are two stores in the state. Doesn't he live in NY? Think he would understand this by now. NJ has everything.

More surprising is the fact that Microsoft has retail stores. When the fuck did that happen?

#21 Posted by benitobb (291 posts) -

They are actually just opening up a Microsoft store in my shitty mall I'm an Abercrombie manager at in central Jersey. Not far from the Apple store in the same mall. Don't know how well this deal or actual store will do though.

#22 Posted by OldGuy (1562 posts) -

Ooooo! I can indulge my pedant nature and whack knuckles with my grammar ruler! Wheee!

: They may have "abounded", or they might "abound" now if they were still rumors (but, they aren't, so they can't) . . . they might even have been "around" . . . but those first three words up there just don't work together.

#23 Posted by Alex (2217 posts) -

@devilzrule27: When you consider the huge chunks of the country currently unserviced by Microsoft Stores, I am just surprised they would shove two of them into a state as comparatively tiny as New Jersey.

Staff
#24 Posted by Mumrik (1078 posts) -

Yes! More stupid deals that fool people into paying more than they should!

#25 Posted by darkvare (766 posts) -

hey guys i made the math and 15 bucksfor 2 years equals 360 dollars coincidence?

#26 Posted by Sackmanjones (4711 posts) -
@Alex: So does this include the release date for the new xbox?
#27 Posted by fargofallout (289 posts) -

This would actually be pretty cool when they launch the next Xbox. For this old-ass 360 though? Not so much.

#28 Posted by mrpandaman (866 posts) -

I kind of don't see the allure of this plan. Would anyone here buy into this?

#29 Posted by Hyperfludd (373 posts) -

Same reaction on the New Jersey thing. Seriously?

#30 Posted by snetErz (120 posts) -

I live within biking distance of Scottsdale Fashion Square. I still wouldn't pay for this crummy deal.

#31 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

@mrpandaman said:

I kind of don't see the allure of this plan. Would anyone here buy into this?

It's for people who don't have the money to pay a few hundred upfront but can afford to put $100 down and $15/mo after. It's a bad purchase for most people, but as far as these schemes go the markup isn't terrible. If you went to a place like Rent-a-Center you'd probably pay $600 for the same package by the time you owned it.

#32 Posted by handsomeb (68 posts) -

It seems strange that they would be testing a new pricing model now. It looks like it would be a better structure for a next gen console. I would do this day one for a 720 as opposed to dropping $400-$500 at once, but 7 years into a cycle? Does this says that the next gen is still 2 years out?

Also, do you get anything else for your monthly fee? Discounted Netflix/Hulu? A few hundred MP's to throw around? Some sort of exclusive content? Or just a $500 console that might be obsolete before your 2 years is up?

#33 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

I hope they do something like this with the new console. I would probably buy it, id end up putting it on credit card anyway so this is a cheaper option.

#34 Posted by Hunter5024 (5708 posts) -

Next time I visit my 85 year old grandparents in Scottsdale I will be sure to let them know.

#35 Posted by Wudz (12 posts) -

I'm mostly curious to see what the early termination fee is. It's got to be pretty substantial if you cut out at the very beginning, right? Otherwise you'd be able to pay the price of the console, the termination fee, and buy two years of gold for way less than you would get it paying monthly at fifteen bucks.

#36 Posted by MeatSim (10873 posts) -

I didn't even know Microsoft had physical stores but with how few there are I guess it's not surprising.

#37 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

You'd think if they intended to give this model a serious go, they would have attempted to sweeten the deal a bit. I'm sure someone won't do the math and will pick up the model, but come on, it just doesn't make sense.

#38 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@Alex said:

@Ravenlight: I refuse to believe that anyone who lives near Scottsdale, Arizona is anything but hyped for EVERYTHING.

Sorry, I meant:

I'M SO EXCITED TO NOT BUY A 360/KINECT BUNDLE WITH A SUBSCRIPTION PLAN!

#39 Posted by jozzy (2042 posts) -

@handsomeb said:

It seems strange that they would be testing a new pricing model now. It looks like it would be a better structure for a next gen console. I would do this day one for a 720 as opposed to dropping $400-$500 at once, but 7 years into a cycle? Does this says that the next gen is still 2 years out?

Also, do you get anything else for your monthly fee? Discounted Netflix/Hulu? A few hundred MP's to throw around? Some sort of exclusive content? Or just a $500 console that might be obsolete before your 2 years is up?

I think it's supersmart to test out the waters before the next gen. I am pretty sure that's the reason they are trying it out at this point in the console lifetime cycle, to get experience with this model and work out the kinks.

#40 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2326 posts) -

ETA and other legal jargon here: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/Legal/xbox-live-contract-terms

#41 Posted by Rhythm (26 posts) -

What MS is trying here is very brave but could change everything. They want to charge upwards of £500 for a new console to justify R&D etc but currently can’t, as they’d be laughed out the market. Yet anyone with a smartphone wanders round “purchasing” a £500 handset every two years. This contract system on a new console would make signing up for that brand new latest Xbox a much easier decision – no longer just the realm of the foolhardy early adopter. The high “contract-free” price could/would be hidden and turned into something of a non-issue

#42 Posted by Doctorchimp (4076 posts) -

@notdavid said:

I'm thoroughly confused by this system. Do you keep it after the two years are up? What happens if you stop paying?

It's like any other cell phone plan.

You agree to a 2 year contract. If you cancel say within 15-30 days without the termination fee Microsoft gets the console back.

If you cancel after that you're going to pay a heavy termination fee, but you keep the console.

This makes sense for cell phones where the cellular service is so expensive already, but for a cheap service like LIVE? This is crazy.

Hell you actually don't really pay anything for the cell phone other than that initial buy.

#43 Posted by hippocrit (241 posts) -

I think this plan is less ridiculous than it sounds. People buy stuff on credit cards all the time, increasing the price of everything. The Xbox deal is no different. If it catches on this will also help kick start the digital future we'd all prefer.

Online
#44 Edited by Lokno (386 posts) -

Xbox 4GB with a Kinect and a Gold Account for two years comes to: $199.0 + $59.99*2 + $149.99 = $468.97

Edit: Forgot about the Kinect bundle: $299.0 + $59.99*2 = $418.98

The actual cost of this bundle is $99.0 + $14.99 * 12 months = $458.76

So unless I missed something this is a slight discount, at least at retail prices for what's provided. Edit: Even at retail prices this bundle is more expensive. However, you don't need to pay nearly as much upfront, which can be huge for some people.

#45 Posted by PaulKemp (111 posts) -

There is no doubt i my mind they are testing this to have this possibility when the next console comes around. We as consumers are used to this way of doing it, and we bite the bullet every two years with a mobile.

I'm predicting different models, (arcade, mid and pro/limited), with different entry level fee, but all with the same sub plan. i dont like it personally, but its not a bad idea from a business POV.

#46 Posted by Doctorchimp (4076 posts) -

@louiedog said:

@mrpandaman said:

I kind of don't see the allure of this plan. Would anyone here buy into this?

It's for people who don't have the money to pay a few hundred upfront but can afford to put $100 down and $15/mo after. It's a bad purchase for most people, but as far as these schemes go the markup isn't terrible. If you went to a place like Rent-a-Center you'd probably pay $600 for the same package by the time you owned it.

Well Rent-a-center is a fucking scam in of itself.

But even then if they don't have the money to pay a few hundred upfront, then maybe they should save up some so they aren't hemorrhaging an extra hundred over the course of a couple years. It's a bad purchase for all people.

#47 Posted by Doctorchimp (4076 posts) -

@Lokno said:

Xbox 4GB with a Kinect and a Gold Account for two years comes to: $199.0 + $68.98*2 + $149.99 = $486.95

The actual cost of this bundle is $99.0 + $14.99 * 12 months = $458.76

So unless I missed something this is a slight discount, at least at retail prices for what's provided. Also, you don't need to pay nearly as much upfront, which can be huge for some people.

You're using the wrong numbers

#48 Posted by flanker22 (124 posts) -

lol america loves subsidized phones. hopefully people understand that it really is no different and it either bring light that people are morons for overpaying for phone plans or that the subsidized model is for suckers.

#49 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Lokno said:

Xbox 4GB with a Kinect and a Gold Account for two years comes to: $199.0 + $59.99*2 + $149.99 = $468.97

The actual cost of this bundle is $99.0 + $14.99 * 12 months = $458.76

So unless I missed something this is a slight discount, at least at retail prices for what's provided. Also, you don't need to pay nearly as much upfront, which can be huge for some people.

Yeah. When I first saw this posted somewhere, it didn't include the kinect or the XBL Gold so maybe people aren't paying attention? This seems like a fine deal.

@handsomeb said:

It seems strange that they would be testing a new pricing model now. It looks like it would be a better structure for a next gen console. I would do this day one for a 720 as opposed to dropping $400-$500 at once, but 7 years into a cycle? Does this says that the next gen is still 2 years out?

Also, do you get anything else for your monthly fee? Discounted Netflix/Hulu? A few hundred MP's to throw around? Some sort of exclusive content? Or just a $500 console that might be obsolete before your 2 years is up?

My guess is if you take this deal, you can't really afford a $500 brand new console on launch, so they won't mind getting this. 360 is still fine and will have a better selection of games than the next Xbox for at least 6 months, and that next console is probably a year from being announced, or at the very least from being talked about in any real way.

Alex needs to get happier today, he's being needless jerky today. Relies on digital content? Isn't it the 4GB model? Yeah, lots of digital content on that device...

And they said that they are opening new locations soon, I believe, so that's a thing to look forward to. This is clearly an experiment, otherwise it would be easier to get. No need to be a massive cock about it.

#50 Posted by Zor (656 posts) -

And coming next year, game time restriction and data caps for Xbox Live... Pay $15 a month to get 20 hours or 2 gbs, $30 for 40 hours or 4 gbs... etc... and only 10 cents per message...

Am i the only one worried about how they are coping Cell phone companies pricing schemes?

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