updated 11:50 am EDT, Wed May 2, 2012
By Justin King
Microsoft is reportedly preparing to offer a $99 Xbox 360 bundle that will include the Kinect sensor, subsidizing the upfront cost and tying buyers to a two-year subscription. Unnamed sources have told The Verge the company will require an agreement that works like a cellphone contract, requiring buyers to pay a termination fee to cease monthly payments before the end of the term.
The subsidized package is said to include the 4GB Xbox console, which the company sells outright for $200 or bundled with the Kinect sensor for $300. Extending the rumored $15/month subscription out to two years and adding in the upfront cost equates to a total price of $459 for the subsidized bundle.
To help sweeten the deal, the company is reportedly planning to include a two-year warranty and free Xbox Live Gold service, which typically costs $60 per year. Other rumored add-ons are said to include streaming content, such as sports packages, from cable networks or other content providers.
Microsoft has yet to formally confirm such plans, however the formal announcement is expected as early as next week.