Last week their were some rumors going around that Microsoft was going to be offering a way for you to get an XBox 360 for $99 out the door. The only catch was/is, is that the deal somes with a 2 year contract at $15 dollars a month.
Microsoft has just today, released a coupon at the Microsoft Store good for a 4GB console, with kinect for $99 with a two year subscription to XBox Live Gold at $15 a month.
In last weeks rumors it was speculated that there may be some bonus content subscriptions added onto the XBox Live Gold Membership. The current membership price is around $5 a month, but with this deal it is bumped to $15. So far it looks like deal is just a way to walk out the door with an XBox, and the pricier XBox Live Gold membership as sort of a payment plan for the hardware. We reached out to Microsoft for comment on this, and as of this articles publication we have not heard back from them. We will update as more information becomes available.
Overall the deal comes to about $460 if you include the money paid over the course of the contract. That's about $40 more than the console and membership, if paid for separately. But the plus side is you walk away with only paying a fraction of that up front.
I think this is good deal for Microsoft and consumers, particularly consumers that don't have the money for a console up front. When you consider the difference in the price is only $40 after 2 years, that could be very appealing to some people. Microsoft has done well to entice a new audience while keeping the overall price manageable.
My only concern is this becoming a trend, with the hardware manufacturers switching to a payment plan method for getting more money in the long run. As long as this is simply another option, and people can still by the next generation of consoles up front for a smaller price, I am all for it.
UPDATE: When reached for comment, Microsoft had this to say via a spokesperson:
"On May 7, we launched a pilot program at Microsoft Stores in the United States to test a new pricing model for the Xbox 360. Specifically, the 17 Microsoft Stores in the U.S. will sell the Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect for $99 with a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment of $14.99 per month. The $99 Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect allows customers to explore the full entertainment offerings available through the Xbox platform. The Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is a great way to enjoy the best multiplayer gaming network, as well as hit movies, TV shows, sports, music, and more. This pilot program aligns with our ongoing commitment to test new products and offers to understand how to best serve our customers."
I'll take that as a "no" to additional content from Xbox Live Gold.