Microsoft is planning to launch a $99 Xbox console package with a monthly subscription as early as next week, according to our sources. The software giant will offer the 4GB console with a Kinect sensor at its range of Microsoft Stores in the US, subsidized with a monthly cost of $15. We're told that the two-year subscription will provide access to the Xbox Live Gold service and possibly some additional streaming content from cable providers or sports package providers. Customers who sign-up for the deal will also be covered under a two-year warranty.
There will be an early termination fee for those wishing to break the contract ahead of its two-year duration, and we understand that Microsoft will position the package as a competitor to Apple TV, Roku, and PlayStation 3. For those buying the bundle now and getting the cheapest two-year Xbox Live Gold option, that's about $299.00 + $120 = $420 vs. $459 over a duration of two years. With E3 2012 on the horizon, and Microsoft working on a "Woodstock" music service — it's clear that the company wants to ensure as many people as possible have an Xbox in their living rooms.
PS3 is doing a lot worse than the 360 now in the US (but better worldwide). This will widen the gap.
What say you.