As a society, we’re accustom to signing contracts, at least when it comes to services, such as cable, Direct TV, cell phones and perhaps even gym memberships. So would you be ok with signing a 2-year contract with Microsoft in exchange for receiving a heavily subsidized Xbox 360?
That’s what The Verge is reporting according to a source close to Microsoft’s gaming division. By signing a 2-year contract, participants will receive an Xbox 360 with 4GB of storage and a Kinect for just $99. By comparison you’d pay about $299 for the same system from Amazon with no contract (the current retail version). Of course that doesn’t come with any service, such as Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service, which allows gamers to play online, access Netflix and a variety of other streaming services. That said, Xbox 360 costs $60 a year, which is $5 a month. So all together, if our math is correct, you’d end up paying about $420 over the course of two years if you went the retail route. Now, if you opted for the purported subsidized Xbox 360 with 2-years of services, which supposedly will cost $15/month, you’d end up paying $459.
However, and this is a big however, you can often score 12-months of Xbox Live Gold for about $35-40 if you purchase it online through retailers such as Amazon. So assuming you can score two of those, which you often can (if you’re patient), you’re total retail cost would be $370 over the course of 2-years, which is a significant savings compared to both above deals. But clearly Microsoft, if the rumor is true, is targeting those folks that can’t plunk down all this money. Also, the contracted Xbox 360 will supposedly come with a 2-year warranty, which is a nice touch and probably suitable for those that can’t afford the retail cost of a Xbox 360, as well as a streaming service from cable providers (they’ve already got a deal with ESPN).
So what would we do? Purchase the Xbox 360 from Costco, duh. They offer an endless return policy on the gaming console, which means it would be on permanent loan. Needless to say, we’d then find one of those Xbox Live deals online and mitigate our cost as much as possible. Anyway, this is all rumor, but keep in mind that E3 is less than a month away, and if they’re gonna announce anything it’s gonna be at this conference.