Keen to get a new console on the cheap? A new scheme being trialled in the US by Microsoft may be your answer. But then again, it’s probably not. We’ve run the numbers to figure out why the subscription-based Xbox 360 is a terrible waste of your hard-earned cash.

So, here’s the deal: walk into one of the 16 US Microsoft stores and you’ll see a brand new offer. In a bid to undercut the Wii and PS3, Microsoft has reduced the price of the 4GB Xbox 360 to just $99 (£61.38).

Only, there’s a catch – and we’re not talking about the paltry 4GB of storage in the base model. The rock-bottom price is only available if you agree to sign up to a two-year Gold subscription to Xbox LIVE, at $14.99 (£9.29) per month.

Xbox 720 details: Microsoft ditching discs?

It’s a trial designed to see if the Xbox 360, with its raft of entertainment services, can stack up as a cheap alternative to the likes of the Apple TV set-top box, while providing gaming thrills at the same time. Only, we think its a terrible idea. Here’s why:

Excuse us, but we’re running our napkin maths in pounds sterling. Now, that $99 Xbox 360 comes out at £61.38, while your monthly subscription to the Gold package of Xbox Live is £9.29. Over the course of your two year deal, you’ll end up handing over a little over £283.

Thing is, if you take advantage of the current best deals here in the UK, you can get the same 4GB Xbox 360 for £130, and 12 months of Gold Xbox LIVE action for £34 per year. So, £130 plus two lots of £34? That’s £198, by our reckoning.

That’s a full £85 cheaper than what Microsoft’s proposing with its subscription deal. What’s worse, if you want to cancel early you’ll have to pay a cancellation fee that can hit $250 (£155). As mentioned, this is in the trial-stages in only a few stores in the US, but we hope it doesn’t work out. Are you in favour of or against subscription console buying? Let us know below.

  • chrisav

    Surely Microsoft are only trying what the mobile phone companies do with Contract handsets to make the cost more attractive? Do the maths on a phone contract to the cost of buying the handset outright. If Microsoft can get your money every month they will in time no doubt give the hardware away, thinking about this aren’t Adobe trying a simular scheme on the new CS6 software suite?

  • Pwcollins

    The Microsoft deal also includes Kinect – so not a bad deal at all

  • http://twitter.com/dave_everett Dave Everett

    I said the same thing in a tweet to Ben, yes it is a bit of a con now and makes an xbox more expensive than it needs to be but MS said it is a pilot scheme and as someone has said it’s similar to how you buy your mobile now, but as it’s a pilot i presume that MS are testing the principal to see how it’s received with a view to launching their next xbox at either an extortionate one off cost or a scheme like this to soften the blow a bit.  How many people won’t buy the new samsung galaxy s3 or iphone 4s at £500 but are willing to stump up £35 a month on a contract worth £10 in terms of usage and £25 a month paying off the phone.  I think it’s a great idea if it is how they plan on launching their new console but rubbish now, hopefully it will mean the creases are ironed out before they launch the 720.

  • http://twitter.com/dave_everett Dave Everett

    I said the same thing in a tweet to Ben, yes it is a bit of a con now and makes an xbox more expensive than it needs to be but MS said it is a pilot scheme and as someone has said it’s similar to how you buy your mobile now, but as it’s a pilot i presume that MS are testing the principal to see how it’s received with a view to launching their next xbox at either an extortionate one off cost or a scheme like this to soften the blow a bit.  How many people won’t buy the new samsung galaxy s3 or iphone 4s at £500 but are willing to stump up £35 a month on a contract worth £10 in terms of usage and £25 a month paying off the phone.  I think it’s a great idea if it is how they plan on launching their new console but rubbish now, hopefully it will mean the creases are ironed out before they launch the 720.

    • Anonymous

      It’s an excellent point in terms of new hardward! Could definitely take the sting out of a £500 new machine with few games at launch.

    • Anonymous

      It’s an excellent point in terms of new hardward! Could definitely take the sting out of a £500 new machine with few games at launch.

    • Anonymous

      It’s an excellent point in terms of new hardward! Could definitely take the sting out of a £500 new machine with few games at launch.

  • Bean

    It comes with Kinect which you have failed to notice or add into your equation.  It is also covered by a full warranty for two years (the Xbox Slim is back to 1 year now the RROD is not an issue for it).  So with Kinect and the extended warranty it isn’t a terrible deal, especially for people who cannot afford the upfront costs in one go.

  • Bean

    It comes with Kinect which you have failed to notice or add into your equation.  It is also covered by a full warranty for two years (the Xbox Slim is back to 1 year now the RROD is not an issue for it).  So with Kinect and the extended warranty it isn’t a terrible deal, especially for people who cannot afford the upfront costs in one go.

  • Bean

    It comes with Kinect which you have failed to notice or add into your equation.  It is also covered by a full warranty for two years (the Xbox Slim is back to 1 year now the RROD is not an issue for it).  So with Kinect and the extended warranty it isn’t a terrible deal, especially for people who cannot afford the upfront costs in one go.

  • http://rigu.co.uk/ Andrew Bowness

    I was ready to brandish the pitchforks over this deal when I saw it initially, but now that I’ve read the comments it’s looking rather more attractive.

Hot chat, right here!


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