Microsoft is reportedly set to release an Xbox 360 (4GB) bundle that features a Kinect and two years of Xbox Live for $99, according to The Verge. The package would come with a $15 per month subscription fee to Xbox Live Gold and “possibly some additional streaming content” from cable providers or others, the report said.
The move would just be the latest effort from console makers to appeal to customers who may be wary about sinking a lot of money into consoles that, while still largely on pace with game development capabilities, have been on the market for several years.
This wireless carrier-like approach from Microsoft is new, since game makers have always accepted a loss on hardware that they expect to make up in game sales. The bundle, as is, would cost $459 in total, around $40 more than buying an Xbox and Kinect bundle with two years of Xbox Live Gold separately. So if the rumor is true, it makes sense to include some kind of access to one of Microsoft’s many partner services to make the subscription plan worth your while.
Still, it’s a huge drop for the console, which costs $399 with the Kinect. And $99 is a long way from the 360’s original price, which started at $299 as a stand-alone console.
Even so, it’s not the largest price drop we’ve seen from this generation of consoles. That prize would go to the PlayStation 3, which launched at a starting price of $499 — $599 if you wanted more memory. Now you can get a console for $249. Sony’s actually in one of the best positions to offer some sort of bundled service deal, given its easy access to movies and music.
The Wii has also seen its share of price drops and bundled deals. Nintendo’s console is now $100 below its original price, just $150 with a free copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a Mario Music CD.
Of the three major consoles, however, Nintendo is the only company that has announced a next-generation console, the Wii U.
Microsoft could be dropping the price of the Xbox ahead of Nintendo’s presentation on the Wii U at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, or could simply be planning to use this as a way to lure people into its multimedia Xbox Live service.
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