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The $99 Xbox 360 Bundle And What It Means For Consumers

When was the last time you bought a console for under a hundred dollars and still had years of support in front of it? Never? You are right. With such a cheap price up front though, there has to be some kind of explanation for such a deal, right? Exactly! For those of you who haven’t heard the rumors from The Verge, Microsoft might launch a Xbox 360 bundle with the Kinect for only $99 upfront with an additional monthly subscription fee for two different Xbox Live Gold accounts, giving real competition for platforms that feature streaming services such as Roku & Apple TV.

What does this mean for average consumers and gamers? Like many would think right away when they hear this, Microsoft is going make a large amount of money off of this. It only makes sense, right? According to Eurogamer, consumers will only be spending an additional $50 over the two years of contracted subscription time. If you buy everything upfront, it’ll only cost you approximately $420 before taxes but if you were to purchase the bundle and go through the contracted period you’ll pay about $460 before taxes.

As everything hasn’t been set in stone yet, Microsoft isn’t confirming or denying that these previous statements maybe true; just that they, “don’t comment on rumors or speculation”. As I asked before, what does this kind of deal mean for gamers? For someone in my situation that has a failing Xbox 360 with no Kinect while not making that much money, this kind of offer intrigues me as I wouldn’t want to spend all my money up front. As I only use one gamertag though, I’d see $100 of that money go into mid-air. Perhaps if Microsoft offered multiple options for how many Gold accounts could be contracted, I’d be more willing to see the part in which this actually is a genuine good deal.

How would average consumers see this bundle as an entertainment consumer, instead of a gamer though? As comparing the price of a cable box to a Xbox 360, it might just be the enticing offer that movie and TV lovers have been looking for to combat the traditional markets of cable and satellite providers. Lowering the price from $95 a month according to Answers.com for a traditional urban apartment to Microsoft’s monthly fees for the bundle with Netflix and Hulu being is about $50, the answer is simple. This move by Microsoft will take a chunk out of the cable market and we’ll only see the margin grow until ‘gamescom 2013′ when we’ll likely hear a first announcement for the next Xbox.

The only thing that could break your possible $45 of savings a month is a potential program that Hulu is looking into. Reported by MobileDia this afternoon, Hulu is looking into forcing subscribers to have login information from their cable company to use their service as an accessory instead of a replacement. There is no word on Netflix doing this but Netflix has been steadily losing support from larger networks to keep their content on the original TV streaming service.

This $99 Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle could mean a revolution in the living room as long as the support of applications like Netflix, HBO Go, YouTube, SyFy, VEVO, Hulu & MSNBC. Control of what you want to watch in your living room could be at hand for a margin off of the traditional price, but we have to wait until the announcement that’ll probably be coming right before E3, which will happen around the beginning of June.

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