Microsoft will soon give gamers the option of paying just $99 for an Xbox 360 console with 250GB of storage when they agree to sign up for a 2-year Xbox Live Gold membership at $14.99 per month. It's the same deal Microsoft rolled out for its 4GB Xbox 360 console with Kinect motion camera a few months back, and is one of three subsidized pricing options gamers will have to choose from.
The third is to pay $149 for a 250GB Xbox 360 with Kinect, also contingent upon inking a 2-year service agreement. Basically, Microsoft's extending its subsidized model to the 250GB SKUs, with or without the Kinect camera bundled in. Is it a good deal? Let's run the numbers.
At today's pricing, a 4GB Xbox 360 console with Kinect runs $250, and two years of Xbox Live Gold service adds another $100. That's a grand total of $350. If going the subsidized route, you'll end up paying around $459 ($99 + $15 for 24 months). So, you're saving $150 up front, but paying $109 more in the long run. It's unclear if there are extras involved, like an extended warranty. Also bear in mind that the regular price for a 4GB Xbox 360 console is $300, but major retailers like Best Buy and Amazon are currently selling it for $250.
Jumping up to the 250GB Xbox console, Best Buy and Amazon both sell a holiday bundle for $250, so the price discrepancy is the same, minus any applicable sales tax. With a Kinect thrown into the mix, the price jumps to $350, or $450 total with two years of Xbox Live Gold service. Going the subsidized route, you'll end up paying $510 total ($150 + $15 for 24 months).
Subsidized 4GB Xbox 360 w/ Kinect: Save $150 up front, pay $109 more in the long run
Subsidized 250GB Xbox 360: Save 150 up front, pay $109 more in the long run
Subsidized 250GB Xbox 360 w/ Kinect: Save $200 up front, pay $70 more in the long run
What do you think about Microsoft's subsidized pricing model?