Last week, we reported on a story from The Verge about Microsoft’s intentions to release a $99 Xbox 360, bundled with the Kinect sensor, for people who locked themselves into a $15/month XBL Gold subscription. As of today, that rumor has come to fruition, with Microsoft officially offering the option at its physical Microsoft Stores (all 21 of them) as well as through its online storefront with a special coupon code.
The strangest element of this entire deal is the early termination fee, equating the plan to a two-year contract from such wireless carriers as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Said fee starts at a fairly hefty $250 and remains there until the fourth month of the contract, after which it gradually reduces to nothing by the end of the two-year cycle. It’s also worth noting that those who decide to opt out and return the hardware within the first 30 days will receive a full refund, less the $15 for your first month’s subscription.
It’s still not entirely clear just whom this plan is meant to serve and attract. The console is initially less expensive, but costs more at the end than the same hardware with two years of Gold purchased up front in a store. The subscription to Gold also doesn’t seem to include extras like Netflix, which is a whole separate fee if one wishes to take advantage of it, limiting the bundle’s potential, as it is now, to be a functional media box.
By Shelby Reiches