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Microsoft Corp. plans to extend its subsidized Xbox 360 offering with more advanced models and bundles of the video game console. The software giant also intends to expand availability of subsidized models to non-Microsoft retail stores.

Earlier this year Microsoft began to offer Xbox 360 4GB game console with Kinect motion sensor for $99 with compulsory subscription to Xbox Live Gold Service for two years at $14.99 a month. Those, who do not like to pay the whole sum for their devices at once, are able to get the console and the sensor for just $99.

Microsoft plans to expand the contract offering with Xbox 360 250GB console for $99 and Xbox 360 250GB+Kinect bundle for $149. It is likely that the software giant will continue to offer compulsory subscription to Xbox Live Gold Service for two years at $14.99 with the subsidized devices. However, the subsidized consoles will now be available not only from Microsoft retail stores, but also from other retailers.

While subsidized game consoles are something completely new for the industry, it appears that Microsoft has found the business approach viable. Considering the fact that the recently added Xbox Live TV and multimedia features directly position Xbox 360 against set-top-boxes like Apple TV, it does make sense for Microsoft to lower the entry price of the X360 to the lowest possible level.

Given the fact that the default Xbox Live Gold subscription typically costs $5 a month, the $14.99 price-tag should include some additional services, as otherwise the final price of the hardware will be rather significant and will barely make a lot of sense for the consumer.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Kinect

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