Microsoft will be releasing a subsidized version of their Xbox 360 gaming console as early as next week for $99. The bundle will include a 4GB hard drive and a Kinect motion sensing device at a monthly price of $15.
News of the deal comes via The Verge, citing anonymous sources. In addition to the Kinect, the monthly fee includes full access to Xbox Live Gold level content and possibly some extra streaming content or sports packages from cable providers.
Buyers will be required to sign a two year service agreement in order to purchase the bundle at the advertised price. Doing some quick math, the total deal works out to $459 after two years. Purchasing the items at full cost individually will set you back around $395 so expect to pay a 16 percent "finance charge" or roughly $65 for the subsidy.
Subsidy aside, the two year agreement will essentially lock the user into the platform for the foreseeable future. The problem that could arise is if Microsoft launches the Xbox 720 within the next two years. It's probably unlikely, but the last thing that a hardcore console gamer would want to do is have to make payments on a system they are no longer using.
Truth be told, this deal is likely targeting lower income families that may not be able to afford dropping nearly $400 for the bundle all at once.