Cash strapped gamers who would rather avoid paying a large upfront fee for an Xbox 360 console can take advantage of a subsidized offer that has Microsoft
charging $99 for a 4GB game console with Kinect and Xbox Live Gold membership, provided you pass a credit check and agree to a two-year service agreement at $15/month. The previously rumored deal has been confirmed on Microsoft's website, and we have some concrete details to share. Let's have a look.
The subsidized offer is only available in one of Microsoft's 16 stores, meaning you can't march into your local Best Buy and demand a sales associate sell you an Xbox 360 console for a Benjamin. If you do happen to live near one of the Microsoft Stores, you're supposed to bring in this (see below) printable coupon, though we imagine it's not really necessary to do so.
What your $99 investment and two-year Xbox Live Gold contract at $15/month gets you is the Xbox 360 4GB console, Kinect accessory, and Xbox Live Gold membership. It was rumored that there might be other extras included, like special streaming subscriptions, but as it stands right now, there aren't any other goodies associated with the subsidized offer. So, is a good a deal? Let's look at the math.
- Non-Subsidized: Xbox 360 4GB ($200) + Kinect ($100) + 2 years Xbox Live Gold ($120) = $420
- Subsidized: $99 (Xbox 3604GB + Kinect) + $15/month for 24 months = $459
You're basically paying a $40 premium to avoid a larger upfront cost, and that premium gets even bigger if you factor in holiday sale pricing and the fact that you can routinely find 12-month Xbox Live Gold memberships selling for around $35 instead of $60. Had Microsoft thrown in some extras as previously rumored, the subsidized offer may have made sense. But as it stands, you have to seek out a Microsoft store, which are few and far between, only to ultimately pay a premium over the long run. And yes, early termination fees apply if you duck out of your contract early (see the full terms and conditions).