Console Post Of The WeekFom Chris Kohler of Game|Life:
Microsoft is about to launch a subsidized Xbox 360 package, in which the hardware will cost $99 but be tied to a two-year subscription plan, according to a report Wednesday.
The bundle will include a 4 GB Xbox 360 model and a Kinect sensor and be sold at Microsoft Stores, The Verge said. It will require a $15/month subscription to Xbox Live and there will be an early termination fee.
I checked the price of a 4GB Kinect bundle on Amazon, and it's in the $280 range. Two years of Xbox Live is another $90 or so (again, based on Amazon prices). $370 in all.
With this new Microsoft deal? $459.
By that measure, it's not a good deal for consumers. In another way, though, it's really not bad at all. $15 a month? That's two lunches (and not somewhere expensive, either). $100 down and two lunches a month? That will seem totally doable for many people who wouldn't spend $300 in one pop.
Plus, and I think this is important, this is a familiar economic model to anyone who has a cell phone, which is basically everyone now.
Oh, and why you're here getting the Kinect, would you like to add a new Windows phone? It uses the same interface and would only change your monthly payments to X. Or a Windows tablet. Same interface.
Microsoft has the right idea here. But they also need to offer consumers a loyalty discount. Buy a Kinect 360 and and a Windows phone at the same time, and you'll receive a 10% discount. Or 20%.
Unless you're Apple, selling hardware doesn't make you money. Selling CONTENT makes you money. Get more content-selling devices in the hands of more people, and you can make more money.
Want to check on whether a new game or demo (or anything else) is available on Xbox Live? Check your Windows phone, buy it from your Windows phone, and have it downloaded to your 360 by the time you get home. Check the leaderboards. Maybe even play mini-games from Xbox Live on your Windows phone. The opportunities for cross-promotion here are enormous, and the more integrated these platforms are, the more opportunities there will be.
While Nintendo and Sony are floundering (and Sony seems downright paralyzed), Microsoft appears to be moving forward, and in my mind, they have correctly identified the future.