A $99 Xbox? More Than Meets The Eye . . .

OK so Microsoft’s launching a $99 X-Box with Kinect. Sure you then need to pay a subscription fee (which comes with access to XBox Live Gold), but you also get a warranty.

So that throws things back into Sony’s part in the price wars on their aging platforms. I think it’s got a few interesting repercussions beyond that:

  • It’s pretty smart pricing – totally you’d pay $29 for the subscription model, but you also get a lot of benefits. Microsoft may be trying some new plans that won’t just be for this system – but for the next.
  • As it’s a two year plan, my guess is we won’t be seeing a new XBox for 1 1/2 to 3 years.  If you’re developing for XBox, breathe a sigh of relief – but not if you just started a new project.
  • This is an experiment. How it pans out will be watched by others – and responded too.  Pay attention.
  • It reverses common methods of pricing game systems – and merges them with online services all-but-totally.  If you work in gaming, pay attention (and notice how Microsoft is even more of a gatekeeper).

Steven Savage