Any thoughts on the rumored $99 XBox + Kinect Deal?

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Postby Macrocephalus » Sat May 05, 2012 4:44 pm

Supposedly Microsoft is about to release an XBox + Kinect bundle for $99… the catch being that you have to commit to a $15/month subscription for 2 years, which gets you a Gold membership and supposedly maybe a few additional extras.

Sounds pretty cool — it might cost slightly more than buying everything upfront would, but the upfront cost is WAY less… except for one additional catch, namely that the XBox in the package is a 4GB model.

I really hadn't given much thought to getting an XBox in this generation, but I do have to admit that this is tempting… except for that 4GB factor. Anyone have any thoughts on this? How useless and gimped is a 4GB Xbox, really? Can it be upgraded with an add-on hard drive? And how much do those cost nowadays since you can't just use any old off-the-shelf drive that fits like you can (and like I have) with the PS3?
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Postby grommyfrog » Sat May 05, 2012 5:01 pm

It's not a bad deal for anyone who can't afford the upfront costs of buying a new console. I figure the final cost is right about what purchasing an Xbox with a credit card would be with two years of interest (basic payment plan without any special APR stuff).

I would consider going this route for the next generation of consoles if it is offered.

HDDs are $50-100 on Amazon right now. You need a HDD!
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Postby Macrocephalus » Sat May 05, 2012 5:42 pm

grommyfrog wrote:It's not a bad deal for anyone who can't afford the upfront costs of buying a new console. I figure the final cost is right about what purchasing an Xbox with a credit card would be with two years of interest (basic payment plan without any special APR stuff).

I would consider going this route for the next generation of consoles if it is offered.

HDDs are $50-100 on Amazon right now. You need a HDD!


I think it's a better deal than credit card interest, actually. It's $459 over two years for the bundle versus $418 for a 4GB XBox 360 + Kinect Bundle and two years of Gold. I guess the real question is how valuable the extra services that will supposedly be included turn out to be.

I don't know. I'd like to check out Gears, and I'm curious to try some Kinect games and some XBL exclusives, but maybe this is just some sort of weird cognitive exploit tempting me to consider this. I could walk into a store tomorrow and buy an XBox, but I have no interest in paying that much for an additional console. But even though I'd wind up paying about the same amount in the end, lowering the barrier to entry makes it tempting. OTOH, adding, say, a 250GB HD would add about $90 or so to the price, which definitely makes it less tempting.

The XBox really isn't useable in the stock 4GB configuration? That's a bummer. Then again, obviously the same would be true for the PS3 — I have hundreds of GBs of games and stuff on mine.

And yeah, me too — if Sony and Microsoft offer a deal like this at launch on the next generation of consoles, I'd very seriously consider it.
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Postby Shazoo » Sat May 05, 2012 10:23 pm

I have a 20GB original xbox 360 and it's almost unusable. :lol: I'd say pass on this as the new system announcements are probably right around the corner so they're probably trying to unload some extra stock of the gimped model. It should be $199 with kinect and 1 year of gold service (the 4gb model) since you're going to have to sink extra money into it.
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Postby Thunderfat » Sun May 06, 2012 3:44 am

I don't see Microsoft doing this. You buy $99 bundle... then what? Give them your credit card info for a 2/yr sub. Easily canceled.... or give a Debit card and renew it.... Too many holes and flaws in this bundle. Blizzard's Annual pass makes more sense. 1yr sub. gets you a copy of D3. Okay, if you cancel sub, Blizzard deactivates D3 from account. I can't see Microsoft Bricking your Xbox, even then its still playable offline.
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Postby BigBadBob113 » Sun May 06, 2012 7:04 am

Yeah, you would DEFINITELY need to invest in a new hard drive, as 4GB is nothing. I think it is a great offer though, because a lot of people may not be willing to drop over $400 as a one-time purchase, but $15 a month interest-free is a pretty good way to finance a new console. Like Grommy said, if this pricing system catches on I will definitely be using that for the next generation of consoles.
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Postby Thunderfat » Sun May 06, 2012 3:36 pm

Epic Face Palm . .. .
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Postby grommyfrog » Sun May 06, 2012 4:31 pm

BigBadBob113 wrote:Yeah, you would DEFINITELY need to invest in a new hard drive, as 4GB is nothing. I think it is a great offer though, because a lot of people may not be willing to drop over $400 as a one-time purchase, but $15 a month interest-free is a pretty good way to finance a new console. Like Grommy said, if this pricing system catches on I will definitely be using that for the next generation of consoles.


If Sony had offered this kind of financing when the PS3 launched... I imagine it would have out sold the Wii :shock: .

Fortune Magazine

Microsoft won't confirm if it will indeed sell its Xbox for $99 plus a subscription fee. If it did, it could upend the race to dominate the living room.


This must be Microsoft testing out subsidizing the console market.
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Postby Macrocephalus » Mon May 07, 2012 8:29 am

Grommyfrog wrote:If Sony had offered this kind of financing when the PS3 launched... I imagine it would have out sold the Wii .


For sure, except I bet the terms wouldn't have been nearly so reasonable back then. "Pay just $399 up front and then just $89/month for 17 years! It's the deal of the decade! Or two decades, actually!"

I do think this could be hugely successful, though, and I imagine if it works for Microsoft, Sony would have little choice but to follow. And frankly, I think, say, two years of Plus would be a way better deal than two years of Gold, so if the next generation launches with financing like this (and doesn't kill renting and used games) I'll probably jump on it.

I wonder how much money Microsoft is really saving by using the 4GB model for the bundle. Wholesale prices on hard drives just aren't very high at all. Maybe they're just doing it because they make a lot of money on their ridiculously overpriced aftermarket drives?

As to concerns about the next generation XBox… I doubt there'll be that much overlap. It seems pretty certain that neither MS nor Sony will announce the next generation this year, so the earliest they're likely to be announced would be E3 next year, and I'm guessing the earliest they'd come out would be next year's holiday season. So there might be a six month overlap, if that. Not a huge deal IMO at $15/month.

Still, the 4GB thing really changes the complexion of the deal. Amazon is selling a 250GB Kinect bundle for $394. That's a lot more than $99, which really feels almost like "oh f*** it" money, but not so much more than $189 for the deal + a reasonable hard drive. But then the Amazon option doesn't include two years of Gold.

So Bob and Grommy, as folks who used to just have PS3s, how happy are you to have XBoxes as well? Do you pay for Gold? Do you feel it's worth it? I kind of doubt I'll get much (if any) added value from whatever video services MS throws in — I have Netflix and FiOS, which already give me pretty much all the movies and TV and VOD I could possibly want and then some — so I imagine it'll really just come down to the gaming. How do you like Kinect, if you have it? Are there really worthwhile Kinect games despite the lack of buttons?
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Postby grommyfrog » Mon May 07, 2012 12:40 pm

Macrocephalus wrote:For sure, except I bet the terms wouldn't have been nearly so reasonable back then. "Pay just $399 up front and then just $89/month for 17 years! It's the deal of the decade! Or two decades, actually!"


I think you can still get a deal like that from Aaron's Rent To Own! :twisted:

Macrocephalus wrote:So Bob and Grommy, as folks who used to just have PS3s, how happy are you to have XBoxes as well? Do you pay for Gold? Do you feel it's worth it? I kind of doubt I'll get much (if any) added value from whatever video services MS throws in — I have Netflix and FiOS, which already give me pretty much all the movies and TV and VOD I could possibly want and then some — so I imagine it'll really just come down to the gaming. How do you like Kinect, if you have it? Are there really worthwhile Kinect games despite the lack of buttons?


I'm happy I picked up the 250GB Bundle and have been enjoying access to the older 360 titles on GameFly. I bought the 360 to give myself more options when deciding what games to play. I don't have a Kinect and I'm not really interested in having one in the future.

I don't use video streaming services on any console. I've had DirecTV for 15 years and have my television watching more than covered.

I have a paid Gold LIVE subscription and it is necessary to really enjoy using the console. You can buy LIVE subscriptions at a discount from Amazon (any store that carries the cards) and save $20-30 on a years service. ALWAYS buy your Points cards from Amazon! If you buy Points from Microsoft they charge Sales Tax. Amazon gives a small discount and delivers the Points/LIVE Subscriptions via a emailed digital code. I guess if you get the $99 deal you don't have to worry about LIVE cards. ;)

Here are links to two of the Extras I picked up for my system.

Unless you like buying AA batteries you will need this.
Xbox 360 Black Play and Charge Kit

I got this on sale for $34.94 last month.
Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Starter Kit
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Postby smurphster » Mon May 07, 2012 12:59 pm

grommyfrog wrote:I have a paid Gold LIVE subscription and it is necessary to really enjoy using the console. You can buy LIVE subscriptions at a discount from Amazon (any store that carries the cards) and save $20-30 on a years service. ALWAYS buy your Points cards from Amazon! If you buy Points from Microsoft they charge Sales Tax. Amazon gives a small discount and delivers the Points/LIVE Subscriptions via a emailed digital code. I guess if you get the $99 deal you don't have to worry about LIVE cards. ;)

Just to add to that... If you buy them through a Co-Optimus link, we actually get a better cut from the digital codes vs the physical cards.

And while we're at it, here are some Co-Optimus links:
Xbox 360 Black Play and Charge Kit
Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Starter Kit
12 month XBL sub
Microsfot Points

Definitely keep an eye out for deals on those starter packs. I've picked up a Live Vision cam and a chatpad that way. Granted the Live Vision cam turned out to be useless on the 360 but it works as a webcam too (besides, it was still cheaper than a normal subscription at the time).
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Postby Macrocephalus » Mon May 07, 2012 3:47 pm

grommyfrog wrote:Unless you like buying AA batteries you will need this.
Xbox 360 Black Play and Charge Kit


Wait… the controllers don't come with rechargeable batteries by default? Or is it that you just can't charge the controller and play at the same time without buying this extra accessory? Either way, that's insane!!! It's exactly this kind of BS nickel-and-diming (along with the RROD) that dissuaded me from even considering a 360 in the first place.

Speaking of which, I guess one important question about the $99 subscription deal will be how it handles console failures.
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Postby smurphster » Mon May 07, 2012 4:06 pm

Wait... the PS3 doesn't come with a headset?!?!? :P

They come w/ standard AA alkaline batteries. You have to buy rechargeable ones and some sort of charger. There's either the Play & Charge kit which is just a USB cord w/ a charger built into the controller end, or you can get a quick charge kit which is a stand-alone two battery charger. I have two play & charge kits and a quick charge. Both are pretty solid kits although I did wear out one of the three batteries (kind of have to expect that after so many charges). There are also 3rd party batteries/chargers but I have no experience w/ those.

Also, the deal has been confirmed by M$: IGN article
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Postby grommyfrog » Mon May 07, 2012 4:11 pm

Macrocephalus wrote:
grommyfrog wrote:Unless you like buying AA batteries you will need this.
Xbox 360 Black Play and Charge Kit


Wait… the controllers don't come with rechargeable batteries by default? Or is it that you just can't charge the controller and play at the same time without buying this extra accessory? Either way, that's insane!!! It's exactly this kind of BS nickel-and-diming (along with the RROD) that dissuaded me from even considering a 360 in the first place.

Speaking of which, I guess one important question about the $99 subscription deal will be how it handles console failures.


Nope, the wireless controller in my bundle came with a two pack of Duracell AA batteries. You have to buy the rechargeable kit separately. Any rechargeable AA batteries will work if you already have a set.

You get a two year replacement warranty with the deal.
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Postby Macrocephalus » Mon May 07, 2012 4:51 pm

smurphster wrote:Wait... the PS3 doesn't come with a headset?!?!? :P


That's a totally valid criticism, and one I've made many times, but it's not equivalent. If Sony only allowed us to buy Sony-branded headsets which cost way more than regular headsets, then it'd be comparable to the crap game MS plays with hard drives and the like.

although I did wear out one of the three batteries (kind of have to expect that after so many charges).


I noticed people on Amazon complaining about that, but I don't see why the batteries should be so crappy. My PS3 controllers are all still going strong years into their lives.
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Postby smurphster » Mon May 07, 2012 5:03 pm

Yeah, that battery lasted ~2 years. The other two are still going strong after 5 years.
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Postby grommyfrog » Mon May 07, 2012 5:25 pm

Macrocephalus wrote:I noticed people on Amazon complaining about that, but I don't see why the batteries should be so crappy. My PS3 controllers are all still going strong years into their lives.


My 360 controller doesn't hold a charge nearly as long as my Dual Shock 3s. I might get 8-12 hours out of the 360 controller compared to 20-30 hours with the DS3. Old Six Axis would last for weeks without charging!

I figure the 360 controller saps a lot of the power running the headset and chat pad that I have attached to it. They would probably equal out if I didn't use voice chat and disconnected the chat pad.

Although, why does it take twice as long to charge the 360 battery pack? :?

Mysteries of modern technology I guess.
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Postby Macrocephalus » Mon May 07, 2012 7:35 pm

I guess the main thing I need to figure out about this deal is whether it's worth getting a Kinect. If I just got a vanilla 360 and didn't bother with the Kinect, it doesn't seem worth it.

So would I be happy to have a Kinect? I've been disappointed by the number of games for the Move, but the good Move games have been good enough that I'm happy I bought in. But the good Move games (in my book) have all been oriented pretty solidly towards core gamers. I know there are some Kinect/Nintendo-style kiddie games for the Move, but there've been enough shooters and fun all-demos games like Sports Champions that I've had plenty to enjoy, at least intermittently.

The buttonless design of the Kinect, though, seems to preclude an awful lot of the types of games I want to play, and though I haven't really been following the space, I can't offhand think of any Kinect games I'm really envious of and wish I could play.

So… any thoughts?
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Postby smurphster » Mon May 07, 2012 8:51 pm

If it helps, with the exception of playing with my girls, I've only used it for voice commands in The dash, Netflix, and halo anniversary. I did play child of Eden but I didn't get far before I was too frustrated to go on. The voice commands are nice, but not enough to validate the price. That said, the kids LOVE it.
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Postby Macrocephalus » Mon May 21, 2012 9:43 am

Well, I had pretty much decided to spring for the deal, but Microsoft outsmarted me. It turns out they really don't want to sell many $99 XBox subscription bundle thingamabobs after all — you can only buy them in person at a Microsoft store, and there are only like three Microsoft stores in the entire galaxy, none of them near me in NYC. Unless I want to rent a car and kill a day going on a road trip, that is.

So, so much for that idea.
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