Last week, it was rumored that Microsoft would be slashing the price on its Xbox 360 game console to a mere $99 with the asterisk that you also sign up for two years of its Xbox Live Gold online service. The company officially announced the offer today, and confirmed just how huge that asterisk is.
As expected, the two-year commitment to Xbox Live Gold isn’t discounted at all. You must pay the full $14.99/month each month for the entire two years. That’s $359.76 (plus applicable sales tax), almost four times the cost of the machine. If you cancel, you also are on the hook for an early termination fee of anywhere from $12 to $250, depending on how long you’ve had the Xbox.
Meanwhile, you can go on Amazon and buy a 12-month Xbox Live Gold membership card for $48.41. For two years, that’s $96.82. Even if you pay full price of $59.99 each, that still only comes out to $119.98 for two years.
So a $99 console with a $360 subscription to a service you might not use. Or a $299 machine with the option to buy a subscription for as little as $4.03/month. You make the call.