Microsoft’s $99 Xbox 360-Kinect hits retail shelves

It wasn’t so long ago that an Xbox 360 would have cost you a pretty penny. But with Microsoft’s game console getting rather long in the tooth and the Xbox 720 on the way, prices have dropped significantly.

As you may recall, back in early May, rumors started to swirl that Microsoft was poised to announce a $99 Xbox 360 console.

Shortly thereafter, Redmond officially introduced the $99 Xbox 360 console and Kinect bundle at Microsoft’s retail stores.

The catch with the cheap purchase price? The buyer has to maintain a $14.99 monthly subscription to Xbox Live Gold for two years. The penalty for buying the cheap console, and then canceling early starts at $250 and decreases as time goes by. This isn’t quite so draconian, simply because most gamers are going to be paying for Xbox Live Gold anyway.

The console offered in the early bundle deal was the basic 4 GB version of the Xbox 360 and seems to have gone over quite well with both Redmond and gamers, as the special $99 Xbox 360 Kinect bundle recently hit third-party retail stores.

You can now get the popular console at GameStop or Best Buy. As expected, $99, will get you a 4 GB Xbox 360 and Kinect, just as the original Microsoft Store offering stipulated, and buyers will also have to pay the $14.99 monthly Xbox Live Gold subscription for the next two years. During that two-year contract, you ultimately pay about $30 more compared to buying a Xbox 360 outright. However, I still think this is a good deal if you intend on subscribing to Xbox Live for multiplayer gaming.