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$99 Xbox 360 with subscription is real, expensive

Today we got confirmation on a report from last week that alleged Microsoft was planning a new pricing structure for the Xbox 360. In addition to all the other current prices, the report said Microsoft would add a new model at the low price of $99 plus $14.99 per month and a two year contract.

While some speculated on what that would mean, we now have a slightly clearer idea now that Microsoft has officially announced the bundle (only available at Microsoft stores.) The wording though, has us a little worried.

"Jump into the Xbox Experience for only $99," the ad reads. "Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect for only $99 with new 2 year Xbox Live Gold contract at $14.99/month."

If we're reading that right, it sounds like Microsoft is saying the $14.99 per month is the cost of Xbox Live Gold. Currently at $60/year, this would balloon the cost of Xbox Live Gold to $179.88 per year for purchasers of this particular bundle. The total cost of the console would then become $458.76. Not exactly a great deal, but not horrible if you'd rather spread the cost over two years.

It's unknown whether Microsoft will be bundling any services with that mammoth price, although if they bundled movie services like Netflix and Hulu along with their upcoming music service, Woodstock, that would fit with their ultimate plan to dominate the set-top box industry.

We've contacted Microsoft to see if we can get some clarification. As of right now, it is becoming more and more clear that Microsoft is testing the waters for some big changes in the next console generation. It's possible we might see a subscription model launch alongside their next gen console. Heck, it's possible the next console will be entirely subscription based.

Andrew is a freelance video game journalist, writing for sites like Wired and GamesRadar. Andrew has also written a book called EMPIRES OF EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online.