In a move that has shocked and excited the gaming community, Microsoft will be selling its Xbox 360 for under $100. This is not a refurbished unit, but a brand-spanking new version AND includes the popular Kinect motion sensor. Other inclusions aren’t quite clear. Although the required two-year subscription to Xbox Live balances the cost of the console itself, it still seems too good a deal. However, there are reasons behind Microsoft’s apparent madness.
No 360 lover wants to admit, but sales of the console have slowed in the last year. Last quarter, sales dropped a shocking 48%, according to Microsoft sources. They created the Kinect sensor to replace the Wii motion sensor, hoping to work into a new market. This sensor provides a better experience that frees users from clumsy controls. Despite its initial success, Kinect did not provide enough force to completely pick up sales of the 360, but Microsoft has faith in its device. The solution: the $99 Xbox 360 deal.
A Shift in Perspective
Some of us have had the 360 since its initial release in 2006. To us, the 360 has always seemed like the true gamer’s console. A hefty, powerful system for hefty, powerful games. Sure there’s a selection of family-friendly games for the 360, but for every family game, there’s three MA games that include plenty of blood and gore.
For those that wanted cutesy little games, there was always the Wii.
Microsoft is trying to change that. The Kinect device and lower price will make the console attractive to a wider audience. The video and audio streaming available through Xbox Live provides entertainment for the whole family. Instead of bringing out that dusty Wii console on Sunday nights, families can now turn on their new Xbox 360 and use their Kinect for some group gaming, then watch some TV shows on Netflix afterwards.
A Commitment to Gaming
The bit of genius is the two-year subscription. Anyone that knows anything about modern gaming consoles knows the money is not in the consoles themselves; in fact, most companies LOSE money on the consoles. The real money is in the games. A $60 game costs only a few dollars to manufacture, and the rest is profit (mostly). By ensuring an owner has to pay for the Live subscription for two years, they prevent the console from becoming relegated to the back of the entertainment center. If you are paying for Live service, why not use it? This keeps a steady stream of games going into the home.
Once again, Microsoft has demonstrated it has some substantial brains.