For the US, at least. In a relatively new move for the industry of console sales, Microsoft has confirmed plans for a subscription based pricing model to distribute their Xbox 360 systems, allowing buyers to pay less up front and cover the remaining over monthly LIVE subscriptions.
First up for the sale is the 4GB Xbox 360 model, bundled with Kinect, and a two year subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold. Outright, the bundle would cost $299, however the new subscription deal demands only US$99 upfront. Over two years, the monthly payments of $14.99 for LIVE Gold will cover the remaining fee, and then some. Those applying for the subscription will find themselves ultimately paying ~US$450. Given LIVE Gold alone over two years would cost ~US$120, those on a subscription plan will ultimately pay ~US$30 more than what they normally would upfront.
As is, Microsoft is limiting purchases of subscription payment plans to specific distributors. And, to ensure customer compliance, subscriptions have certain information requirements and early termination fees.
Though the plan has not been confirmed for Australia, Microsoft’s experimentation with this business model is likely early insight into possible pricing schemes for the next generations. Circulating rumours point towards Microsoft’s next system packing quite a bit of hardware under the hood, and given a high price will probably be attached to such a platform, the company may favour optional subscription models to encourage money conscious consumers to take the plunge.
If Microsoft’s new system launched at a high price, would you consider a cheaper subscription model? Let us know.