Microsoft's Xbox Live spokesman, Major Nelson announced today that the $99 subscription-based Xbox 360/Kinect bundle announced last month, has been expanded to include Best Buy and GameStop locations. Previously the bundle was only available at Microsoft stores.
The deal offers buyers a big discount on the upfront cost of an Xbox 360/Kinect hardware bundle in exchange for a monthly subscription plan which adds up to a higher overall cost. Overall, the subscription bundle costs about $460 spread over two years, whereas the regular bundle (plus $60 annual Xbox Live fees) costs about $420.
The subscription plan is still listed as being only at "participating" Best Buy and GameStop stores, suggesting those companies are rolling this new program out slowly, just as Microsoft did last month by limiting it only to their own stores.
We're watching this program closely, as it's possible this is an experiment being run by Microsoft to test how willing consumers are to switch their console-buying habits to a system more like buying cell phones.