In what could be a major game-changer for the industry, Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to launch a $99 Xbox console package, including a Kinect sensor, on a monthly subscription.
The Verge is reporting that the package could be launched in Microsoft’s bricks-and-mortar stores in the US as soon as next week, with the Redmond-based computing giant offering the subsidized console at a monthly rate of $15 over two years.
It will also provide access to the Xbox Live Gold service, with the possibility of additional streaming content from cable providers. As with consumers on mobile phone contracts, it seems Xbox subscribers will also be covered by a warranty for the duration of the contract.
The one point worth focusing on here is that, according to The Verge at least, the subscriptions will only be available through Microsoft stores…of which there are twenty across the US. That said, if this news proves to be true, then there’s no reason why Microsoft wouldn’t consider offering the package elsewhere…either online, or through third-party retailers.
At any rate, this has potentially huge implications for the gaming industry as it opens the product and associated services to many more people who otherwise can’t afford to buy an Xbox outright.
The Verge also reports that there will be a termination fee for those wishing to terminate their contract early, whilst it seems to be bang on the button by reckoning that Microsoft is attempting to align this package as a competitor with the likes of Apple TV, Roku, and PlayStation 3.
Interesting news for sure, and we’ll wait to see what comes of this when – or if – something is officially announced.