The console bundle will only be available at Microsoft retail stores for now and buying the $99 bundle, including Kinect, will cost you an additional $15/month for two years. This is a really interesting move for Microsoft and if successful, could become and industry trend. Would the PS Vita been more appealing for $99 even with a subscription?
The downside here is that you will end up paying more in the two years than if you were to buy a 4GB Kinect bundle for $299 and pay $60/year for Xbox Live.
The difference is about $40. Stretched out over 2-years doesn't seem like that big of a deal. Although, you are locking yourself into a 2-year commitment with a console that is about to be replaced in 1-year.
From what I have seen on the internet today, reaction to this has been mostly negative. I don't think this is the best deal on the block, nor would I suggest this offer to anyone but the idea of a subsidized console is really interesting.
We are used to this type of subsidisation on our cell phones. It's arguable that subsidies are the reasons cell phones — at least high end smart phones like iPhones and Galaxy Nexus — are so popular. Affording a $600 iPhone would be very difficult for me and for people like my parents who could care less about their phone would never bother spending that much on a phone. But a $99 iPhone is very appealing and then you are hooked into a 2-year contract and also let loose on Apple's App Store to which they also get a cut.
Apple is currently selling an unlocked iPhone at $649. Do you know how much you'd have to pay per month if you bought that? Same damn price the guy who got a $199 phone on contract is paying. The cell phone business is its own bundle of joy but I think the gaming market can benefit from parts of it.
When the PS4 and Xbox 720 ship a year or so from now I will likely only be able to afford one — believe it or not Microsoft and Sony don't send me shit — so, even though I want to own both consoles at launch, one of them will have to wait. Now if the both have subsidized versions for lets say $199 and $15/month I could probably swing that.
Consoles are pretty darn expensive — $599 US dollars anyone? — but subsidizing could bring a whole new dynamic to the market. I think console makers could expect more consoles picked up at the beginning of the life cycle, creating a much larger install base which will spur sales of more games, which of course means more money.
via: The Verge