Will gamers bite the monthly bill for a cheaper way into the next gen? That’s the big question Microsoft may have on its mind after testing the waters with the $99 Xbox 360 that launched with a 2-year Xbox Live agreement.
With the next gen ready to roll out at the end of the year and Microsoft’s upcoming console nearing revelation, price is still a huge factor in the minds of the consumer. Sony had their huge reveal for the PS4 last month but neglected to mention a price point or range. We’ve heard rumors going from $299 all the way up to $599 and of course we have to factor in bundles and different offerings such as the “Basic” and “Deluxe” retail strategy. Could there be room for another type of offering that including a monthly billing agreement?
This is not unlike most cellphone carrier, cable providers, and internet services. You sign up for an agreement, usually with a low baseline price, and you’re given hardware and a service. Every month you have to pay a fee for the service or your account is either suspended or terminated. You then lose access to many, most, or all features of the service and are given a larger bill for early termination. These service agreements can be risky if you’re a household low on funds or have many other agreements that may result in you missing a payment for one reason or another. Still, for some it may seem like a a good option.
Not everyone has the cash allowance to fork out $300, $400, or even $500 for a new gaming console and Microsoft may be hoping that setting gamers up for a small monthly free may be the ticket to more console sales, especially in the early days of the launch.
Many gamers wait to see how consoles will perform or what games will be released for them before biting into the generation. In fact, I know many who have just recently bought their first PS3 or 360. Offering a next gen device for a small entry fee and include a service agreement may be their ticket into experience the upcoming gaming era at the start of it.
While we’re all eagerly waiting for Microsoft to show it’s hand, there’s another question to pose: would you buy you a subscription-based Xbox 720?
To me, it seems feasible that Microsoft would offer this at $199, seeing as the 360 has a model like this available for $99. The agreement I can’t see being more than $14.99 month. That would encompass the Xbox Live monthly fee and then a bonus fee to make up some of the cost of the hardware itself.
So there you have what I believe would be a reasonable subscription-based XBox 720 for $199 and $14.99 a month for two years. After two years you own the console completely and you don’t have to pay any extra fees for hardware. After two years your fee for Xbox Live goes back down to normal price and you gain the option to pay for 3-months or an annual amount.
Does this type of offering have a place in console gaming? Did you like what Microsoft did with the subscription-based Xbox 360? Are you willing to do this for a cheaper way entry into the next gen?