I took a jab at Barnes & Noble’s Nook “deal” awhile back, so I figure it is only fair to have a go at Microsoft. This time around, we have a video game console being offered to us at a “steal.” The deal includes a Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Kinect system which allows for your body to be used as a controller with certain games and features. For example, you can shout out voice commands and have AI team mates react in the game, or move your hands, arms or head and have something happen on the screen in relation. The Xbox itself is a slimmed down 4GB model (the hard drive), which should be enough for casual gamers. The deal is that at regular retail price, all of this costs around $299, give or take a ten-spot. But with the new deal Microsoft is offering, you can have it for only $99 … IF you sign up for 2 years of Xbox Live Gold membership for $15 a month. And, in all fairness, I’ll go ahead and say that this is just a trial run to see how many suckers they can get with this, therefore, it is currently being offered in Microsoft Stores only.
I’ll let that soak in a minute.
Ok, you can walk into a store and throw down $300 for a 4GB Xbox 360 w/ Kinect. A year of Xbox Live Gold membership can be found for as low as $49 in most stores, and Amazon.com usually has a deal where you can get it even cheaper than that. So two years of Xbox Live can be bought, if you look around, for about $100. You buy that Xbox and get those 2 years of membership, you’re out $400 cash money.
Take Microsoft up on their incredible deal, though, and let’s do the numbers. You are signing a contract with Microsoft to subscribe to Xbox Live for 2 years (that’s 24 months, folks) at $15 a month. Right off the bat you are paying $360. And yes, I did say CONTRACT. If you decide you don’t want this fabulous deal anymore and try to back out, they will charge you for the remaining months anyways, so it’s a good bet that they’re going to want a credit card up front to auto-bill you each month. But I digress. We are up to $360 out of the gate. But you have to have the console to play the games, right? That’ll be another $100. The console is practically being given to you, right? $99 for a brand new, cool, sleek, black Xbox?! AWESOME!! So now we are up to $460 on this great deal.
Wow, maybe I was wrong! Maybe Microsoft is doing us all a favor for charging us $60 extra dollars for a system we can get for $400. Shoot, I may go buy one for every room in my house. “No, no, I don’t want to save up my pennies and buy one for $400! I’ll take that $460 model that is the exact same thing!”
So basically, Microsoft is getting into the Rent-a-Center business model. They want you to pay them as much money as possible to own their system that … oh, that’s right, I forgot to mention this part. They want you to be locked into a two year deal on a system that will be out dated as of next year. That’s right, the “next generation” Xbox is schedule to be released in 2013. And look at these folks, they’re paying $460 over 2 years on a system that will be discounted as soon as the new hardware is launched about a year into their contracts. Yikes.
What I take this to boil down to is: Microsoft is either 1) taking advantage of the people who do not have the money up front to go blow on a console for their kids or themselves, or 2) they’re trying to set up a steady flow of income for the 360 so it will continue to bring in money even after the newer system hits the market. Oh, and 3) catering to people who can’t do math or just don’t care what they blow their money on.
Having been through 2 Xbox’s myself, 2 different versions of the Zune that they failed to support, been a paying member to their Zune Pass service and been a loyal Windows PC user since I could first use a computer … I say piss on Microsoft. But I’m not hostile or anything 🙂
- Microsoft’s $99 Xbox 360 bundle: what a rip-off! (betanews.com)
- Is the $99 Xbox 360 a bargain? (slashgear.com)
- Microsoft confirms $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect subscription deal (venturebeat.com)
- Why I Support Microsoft’s $99 Xbox 360 (And Why You Should, Too) (slashgear.com)
- Microsoft Launches a $99 Xbox (premiermicrosoft.wordpress.com)