Microsoft has announced that they will begin offering the 4GB model of the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor for $99 at their company stories – yes, all 16 of them scattered across North America.
However, there is a catch: in order to lock down the console for that discounted rate, you’ll need to sign a two-year contract for Xbox Live Gold service at $14.99 per month. Over the course of those two years, you will pay roughly $460 for your Xbox 360.
Now here’s the interesting thing: a 4GB Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle will run you $299 at retail (not counting discounted storefronts like Amazon). A Gold Membership to Xbox Live costs $60 per year, making it $120 for two years of service. That grand total equals out to roughly $420.
Therefore, it would actually cost you less to just drop the fundage in one fell swoop than paying it out over the next two years. We’re not really sure Microsoft understands the meaning of “a deal.” The only way this offer could be considered as such is if you don’t have $420 sleeping comfortably in your bed mattress like we do. And if you don't, just save up until you do. You'll be saving money in the long run.
According to Microsoft, this offer is part of a “pilot program” designed to test the waters of different markets and understand how to best serve customers. To us, however, this "pilot program" seems kind of fishy.