Recent price cuts have seen Microsoft extend its market lead over the Sony PlayStation 3 console. Now, the company is apparently looking to make the well established Xbox Live service more appealing to Xbox 360 owners, with a 40 percent price cut on a 13 month Gold subscription. The move, unveiled by over the weekend, brings the usual $49.99 price down to $29.97, or something like $2.30 a month.

The deal is expected to last only until January 31, and while many will argue that Microsoft should stop charging for the Xbox Live service altogether – like on the PC side of things – at the very least the new price will be much more tempting to gamers. Sure, Sony PlayStation 3 owners already enjoy free access to their Xbox Live equivalent, the PlayStation Network, but with 17 million subscribers and a wealth of online content, Microsoft doesn’t really have a reason to stop charging at the moment.

It remains to be seen whether the Amazon price cut emerges as little more than a temporary reduction or if Microsoft is testing waters here for cheaper subscriptions. Hopefully, it will be the latter. In any case, if you’ve been waiting to game online or need to renew your subscription soon, this is probably the best deal around.