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Microsoft recently added two new Xbox 360 packages to its subsidized subscription deal; the 250 GB Xbox 360 model priced at $99, and the 250 GB model with the Kinect sensor for $149. These packages join the 4 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect deal Microsoft has offered at its Microsoft Store locations for $99. For those who don’t have a Microsoft retail store nearby, you now have four more options when it comes to securing these deals, thanks to partnerships struck by Microsoft with GameStop, Toys R Us, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Here’s how it works. Much like a wireless phone provider, Microsoft is subsidizing the cost of the Xbox 360 package you choose by requiring you to sign up for a 2-year Xbox Live subscription, priced at $15 a month. Over the life of this subscription, Microsoft is able to make back the initial discount on the Xbox 360 package, much like a 2-year wireless agreement covers the subsidy you receive when you purchase a phone through a carrier. But is it a good deal?

For those who don’t have the cash upfront to pay for an Xbox 360 package in full, you might be better off saving up. The 250 GB Xbox 360 console, for example, is currently priced at a discounted $249.99. Purchasing two Xbox Live year-long subscription cards from Amazon would set you back another $100, putting the total cost at around $350. Through Microsoft’s subsidy deal, you’d pay $99 for this same Xbox model upfront, and add an additional $360 over two years, for a grand total of $459. That’s an extra $109 for the package on contract.

And I forgot to mention: several full-price Xbox 360 packages come with one or two included games. For example, one 250 GB package currently available throws in both Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Forza 4: Essentials Edition, all for $250.

With the holiday season fast-approaching, Microsoft is making a big move in order to get the Xbox 360 into more homes. Many will undoubtedly take advantage of a lower upfront cost in order to secure an Xbox 360 console, but if you can afford to wait, you probably should, and use that extra $109 to pick up another two or three games.

Subsidized Xbox 360 packages will be available at GameStop and Toys R Us on October 28, with Walmart and Best Buy joining on October 29.

[Source: Gamesindustry]


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