$99 Xbox 360, Kinect bundle launching next week — report

The folks over at The Verge are reporting that Microsoft is planning to launch an Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle next week for just $99.

The bundle will include a 4GB Xbox 360 console, Kinect sensor, and a two-year monthly subscription plan that will cost $15 a month. The original report notes that the subscription will include the full Xbox Live Gold service, and possibly video streaming content from cable or sports package content providers as well. Customers who remain under the subscription plan will be covered by a two-year warranty.

Those of you thinking that $15 dollars a month sounds a little higher than average are correct. Under the new bundle’s plan, the $99 system cost plus the $15 monthly subscription fee would equal about $460 over the course of two years. Compare that to taking the standard route—buying a $299.99 Xbox 360 console and paying $60 per year for the basic Xbox Live Gold service for two years—and we’re left with a bundle that costs much less upfront, but will run you back a bit more in the long run. Since the $99 bundle may include additional features, though, we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not it’d be worth it.

There is a catch to the bundle’s monthly service plan, however: those who wish to cancel out of the two-year contract early will have to pay an early termination fee of some sort. The cost of this potential fee is not presently known.

The plan is reportedly part of a focused effort on Microsoft’s part to turn the Xbox 360 into more of a direct competitor to other home entertainment options such as Apple TV, Roku, and, of course, the PlayStation 3.