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Why You Don't Want a $99 Xbox 360

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the but-it's-only-wafer-thin dept.

Microsoft 530

itwbennett writes "Peter Smith has done the math on Microsoft's $99 Xbox 360 — 4GB model (no hard drive) and a Kinect sensor. Here's why it's a bad deal: 'You'll be paying $99 + $359.76 in monthly fees, or $458.76 over the course of two years. Compare that with (I'm using prices from Amazon that were accurate as of May 7th, 2012) $287.70 for an Xbox 360 4GB + Kinect bundle, and two 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards at $48.41 each, a total of $384.52. So you're paying almost $75 for the privilege of laying out small cash now.' And then there's the not insignificant matter of early termination fees."

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530 comments

Same reason as before... (-1, Troll)

earls (1367951) | about 2 years ago | (#39927251)

It's a Microsoft product.

Re:Same reason as before... (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#39927701)

We are all kind of fucked here though.
PCs = DRM from hell.
XBox = Fucking Microsoft.
PS3 = Fucking Sony.
Wii = I do not want to play Mario Party with 10 year old girls.

Best bet is really dual booting a PC with Linux and using the new Steam client.
At least with Steam the DRM is kind of smart and a little bit useful.

Re:Same reason as before... (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#39927783)

No, same reason as before –poor people have to make false economies:

At the time of Men at Arms, Samuel Vimes earned thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.
Therefore over a period of ten years, he might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet.
Without any special rancour, Vimes stretched this theory to explain why Sybil Ramkin lived twice as comfortably as he did by spending about half as much every month.

[Sir Terry Pratchett]

Or... (2, Insightful)

troon (724114) | about 2 years ago | (#39927257)

$0 for not having an Xbox 360 at all. That's the option I'm going for.

Re:Or... (0)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#39927375)

Cool story.

Try it for Internet subscription and computer purchases.

Re:Or... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#39927645)

Cool story.

Try it for Internet subscription and computer purchases.

That's like saying a 400$ bike is cheap because it costs much less than a car.

Re:Or... (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#39927747)

Well it could be. $400 for a bike, gets you a decent quality bike, that should give you years of quality service. If you live close to your work, or do not have much of a need to travel more then 5 miles to any location, you are probably saving a lot of money using a bike. I would love to bike to work... However I live 30 miles from my house. The area where I work isn't a nice place to live, the nice areas near the area are too expensive. So in terms of money it is cheaper for me to have a car and not bike, even with the high gas prices.

Re:Or... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927807)

However I live 30 miles from my house.

Man, that must be annoying. :-)

Re:Or... (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39927581)

Or buy the Xbox but not the Live part. Single player games are more fun anyway with better story vs. online with teeny boppers and a gamethat goes forever with no real point. Like FF elevn.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927777)

Troon pretty much ends the discussion with that. I don't want an X-box for $99, or $49, or $0. If you pay me to carry it to the trash can, I'll take it.

Let me introduce you... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927265)

To cell phone plans.

Prepaid cellular (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927393)

What's a "cell phone plan"? I thought cell phones were pay-as-you-go: a customer who wants a pay phone replacement buys a dumbphone for $30 and then pays $7/mo for a small allotment of minutes, or a customer who wants a land line replacement buys a smartphone for $200 and pays $35/mo for service. (Source: virginmobileusa.com)

Re:Prepaid cellular (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 years ago | (#39927481)

A "cell phone plan" is an embryonic piece of legalese that, with proper care, feeding, graft, and corruption, can become a piece of Congressional legislation after its bureaucratic chrysalis.
But only if the dark side of its pimp hand force is strong.

Re:Prepaid cellular (1)

Ignacio (1465) | about 2 years ago | (#39927505)

Don't forget the part where you have to pay for the rest of the phone if you ever want to go with someone else.

Re:Prepaid cellular (1)

Corf (145778) | about 2 years ago | (#39927507)

Hear, hear. I was with VM between '06 and '11, and I'd be happily still with 'em if my office hadn't given me an iPhone to which I forward my google-voice-ported personal number.

Their phones are a generation or two behind the new hotness but if it's $$ from my own pocket, they were more than adequate (especially when grandfathered into their $25/mo voice-and-data plan).

Re:Prepaid cellular (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39927587)

I just switched from Tracfone to Virgin Mobile in November when I needed to get a smartphone for work. I don't get signal in my apartment or at work or at my parents (then again, AT&T and Verizon only work at work because there's cell towers for both on top of the building) but I'm still happy pocketing the other $35/mo Verizon/ATT would charge for a similar plan and just hopping on wifi in the places that don't get Sprint's signal.

Re:Prepaid cellular (1)

ethorad (840881) | about 2 years ago | (#39927575)

Um, $200 + $35 per month is a cell phone plan ....

And the point is $200 + $35 per month for two years is a lot more than shelling out $400 for the phone and paying $10 a month on pay as you go. Same deal as with the $99 xbox - and anything where you can pay in monthly installments rather than all up front.

Virgin charges no ETF (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927745)

Um, $200 + $35 per month is a cell phone plan

It's not a "plan" in the sense of a two-year contract with an early termination fee.

$400 for the phone and paying $10 a month on pay as you go.

A $400 phone sounds like a smartphone, and $10 per month sounds like dumbphone service: few minutes, no data. Since when do the carriers let the user activate dumbphone service on a smartphone? Or what am I missing?

Multiple consoles (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927279)

So you're paying almost $75 for the privilege of laying out small cash now.

This privilege is valuable to working class families that have a lot of kids but not a lot of savings, especially when a lot of newer console games have been following in PC games' footsteps in eschewing shared-screen multiplayer in favor of LAN or online multiplayer. Thus one has to buy a separate console for each gamer in the family rather than one for the whole family as it used to be in the split-screen era.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#39927413)

actually, you're paying a privilege to have the limited device too. 4GB is nothing for storage. I'm not a Xbox360 fan, but you'd have to be lacking common sense to buy one without a substantial hard drive or a plan to replace the hard drive. A lot of functionality is based on having a large hard drive, though you could always buy one later and replace it (which is what power gamers are probably doing anyway).

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

Calos (2281322) | about 2 years ago | (#39927439)

For the most part, I agree with you. Paying a low up-front cost but a little more in the end is a good option, and not just for low income folks. (Emphasis on option.) There's a opportunity cost related to whether or not you tie up that extra ~$200 in the console now, or keep it on hand for other uses for the time being. Just because you can afford to pay cash outright for a car, for example, does not mean that it makes sense to do so.

However, when you say Thus one has to buy a separate console for each gamer in the family... No, no one doesn't.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927469)

However, when you say Thus one has to buy a separate console for each gamer in the family... No, no one doesn't.

I will admit right now that I'm out of touch with the Xbox 360 market. In households with more than one gamer, how are games whose only multiplayer is LAN or online typically played?

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#39927699)

In households with more than one gamer, how are games whose only multiplayer is LAN or online typically played?

"Taking Turns." The same way it was dealt with 20 years ago when I wanted to play Dragon Warrior II and my brother wanted to play Contra.

And plenty of games have split screen. Mostly shooters and sports games, but those seem to be the most popular genres on the console, so they can still play alongside their brothers.

Re:Multiple consoles (4, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#39927635)

Paying over time on a luxury item like an Xbox is a bad idea.I rarely side with the poor, but this is just stealing from the poor and feeding on their bad spending habits. Instead of getting on this monthly plan, they should just put the money away. After only 4 or 5 months, they will have enough to buy the system outright. That is not a significant time to wait to buy an Xbox. I've waited longer for stuff I want. We must destroy the "got to have it now" mentality before it destroys the country.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | about 2 years ago | (#39927785)

Isn't this roughly the same as the 2 year contracts for those high end Android-device-du-jour or iPhone-latest? This includes a subscription to some multiplayer gold whatsit which makes it roughly analogous to the phone plan thingie. They're just trying to see if there's a market of consumers who are sensitive to the cash outlay to buy a console upfront but would buy it if initial payment seems smaller.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#39927637)

For the most part, I agree with you. Paying a low up-front cost but a little more in the end is a good option, and not just for low income folks. (Emphasis on option.) There's a opportunity cost related to whether or not you tie up that extra ~$200 in the console now, or keep it on hand for other uses for the time being. Just because you can afford to pay cash outright for a car, for example, does not mean that it makes sense to do so.

In my opinion comparing this to the purchase of a car which is a practical necessity for most people is a bit disingenuous. And if your budget can be broken over 200 dollars, again in my opinion, you should be worrying about more important things than buying the latest video game console.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927843)

And if your budget can be broken over 200 dollars

Times the number of gamers in the household.

Re:Multiple consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927643)

You haven't seen how bitter fights can get between siblings for a console, I'm guessing. The "wait your turn" stuff doesn't work these days when a kid might have 4 hours at most (My friends who have kids have to get their kids at the bus stop at 6:30 because the buses go between three schools, and the kids end up home around 6:00.)

As a parent with kids having only a few hours between getting home, getting dinner, and to bed, one has three choices when it comes to consoles: Not buy one at all, buy one for each of the kids, or watch the shared console get utterly destroyed in a fight.

Personally, my choice would not be to buy one at all. Would I allow someone to put an extremely locked down appliance into my home with a camera array and a mic, with 24/7 Internet connectivity? Hell no. If the kids want games, that is what the PCs are for.

Copy of each game for each PC (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927817)

one has three choices when it comes to consoles: Not buy one at all, buy one for each of the kids, or watch the shared console get utterly destroyed in a fight. [...] If the kids want games, that is what the PCs are for.

One likewise has three choices when it comes to gaming PCs: Not buy one at all, buy one for each of the kids, or watch the shared gaming PC get utterly destroyed in a fight. And one still has to buy a copy of each game for each PC [cracked.com].

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#39927475)

This privilege is valuable to working class families that have a lot of kids but not a lot of savings

No it's not.

It's just as "valuable" as the US, Spain or Greek debt.

This won't help with their savings or give them more items/better economy in the long run.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | about 2 years ago | (#39927639)

That depends on the amount of interest you could make off of not paying the extra money up front. i.e. The opportunity cost.

Money now is always better than the same amount of money later.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#39927585)

The price premium does beat some of the really skeezy rent-to-own places; but the contract and ETF have a couple of unfortunate downsides, in addition to the price premium:

Reduced 'liquidity'(in the grim poor-people sense): You plunk down the $99 and make a (presumably legally binding, or at least more legally binding than you'll ever afford to lawyer out of) commitment to pay the rest for two years. I hope your income and expenses are stable, even though you don't have enough savings to buy an xbox... Unlike the sleazy rent-to-own guys, Microsoft isn't just going to repossess the xbox and call it a day, they'll just slap the ETF onto your probably mounting load of debt and walk away while you fight it out with the credit card company and their collections guys. If you are economically tenuous, long-term commitments that incur further costs on termination are Bad News.

Credit Card dependence: Unless MS is planning on setting up the infrastructure of sordid downmarket finance, as found at your local payday loan or check-cashing joint, 'monthly fee' and 'ETF' mean 'credit card'. There goes the impecunious under-18s market, along with the terrible-credit customers. MS has Xbox live subscription cards, widely available at retail, for just such purposes.

This seems more like a stab at the nominally-comfortable-but-heavily-over-obligated middle class family with a fair income but a mortgage, two leased cars, a few CCs, 4 smartphone plans, and maybe a college student racking up the loans....

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39927623)

It's no different than student loans, mortgages (any loans really), leasing a car, etc... you pay more in the long run and in return, you get the product sooner than if you had to pay for it up front. This business model is what enables people to go to college right out of high school, to buy a house before they're 40 and to get a car that they need to get to a job to get money for the car.

Re:Multiple consoles (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39927809)

My kids get the older consoles. The ninety nine dollars went to a PStwo not any of the newer units. Also they play older N64 and GameCube games.

Honestly they don't really need that console (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 2 years ago | (#39927867)

Truly, if they must buy the lower end console to fit in their budget they are already budgeting improperly. People who budget around "monthly costs" are pretty much doomed to stay or become poor.

Note, this is far different from budgeting for required monthly expenses, like rent, food, and utilities. It becomes a problem when you justify a frivolous expense by the same method you do so for required expenses.

The more intelligent path for people in the situation you describe is to set aside the money needed to buy the desired item and then when it is at hand deciding whether or not to actually buy the item.

One thing I have noted is that people tend to make different decisions when spending money when they have to spend it all up front versus buying it over time. Yet the end cost is the same if not worse, worse mostly because you have now locked up more money permanently. With the save to spend system once the goal is achieved the money returns to the pot to be saved or spent. With the monthly payment process that money is removed from the pot for the duration. You could not interrupt it when necessary and worse you don't have the accumulated funds in case of emergency

This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (0, Redundant)

spikesahead (111032) | about 2 years ago | (#39927285)

This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold, right?

My xbox 360 just recently broke, which is a shame because my son was enjoying some of the arcade games I downloaded and it was my only dvd player.

I assure you that I would very much like to have a 99 dollar xbox 360 with a kinetic, the kinetic will go on my computer, the new xbox will play my dvds and arcade games, and microsoft will lose money on me.

There's no downside.

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (5, Informative)

bmenglish (2609991) | about 2 years ago | (#39927301)

You forgot the part where you're forced into the two year agreement for Xbox Live, much like a cell phone contract. You can't have it your way.

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927519)

You forgot the part where you're forced into the two year agreement for Xbox Live, much like a cell phone contract. You can't have it your way.

How is it 'forced' when you're accepting an agreement? Is there a guy with a gun making people pick this up?

It's just irritating how many people just come to /. to be anti-MS jackoffs anymore. If you don't want it, don't sign up for it, assholes.

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (0)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#39927715)

Can you get this Xbox without the two-year requirement? If you attempt to get out of the two-year requirement, Microsoft will take you to court where there are people with guns.

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#39927761)

You forgot the part where you're forced into the two year agreement for Xbox Live, much like a cell phone contract. You can't have it your way.

How is it 'forced' when you're accepting an agreement? Is there a guy with a gun making people pick this up?

It's just irritating how many people just come to /. to be anti-MS jackoffs anymore. If you don't want it, don't sign up for it, assholes.

It's forced in the situation described by the previous poster, thus making it invalid, as he further crarified with "you can't have it your way". (Think about the reason to put "in your way" in that sentence.)

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927315)

You realize you can get a Blu-Ray player for cheaper than the 360, right?

"will play my ... arcade games" (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927427)

my son was enjoying some of the arcade games I downloaded [...] the new xbox will play my dvds and arcade games

You realize you can get a Blu-Ray player for cheaper than the 360, right?

You realize Blu-ray players don't have games, right?

Re:"will play my ... arcade games" (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39927767)

So buy a dvd player for $20, and a Wii for $99. No extra payments over 2 years. Wth the money you save every month, buy accessories (extra wiimotes, etc) over time, and hook up with others in the neighborhood to swap games (after all, you can only play one game at a time anyway).

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927319)

Microsoft won't sell you an Xbox 360 for $99 unless you sign up to Xbox Live Gold.

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#39927449)

Yeah, it'll be the Audrey / iOpener all over again, based on how they enforce that.

William

Re:This assumes I want Xbox Live Gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927543)

How exactly would microsoft lose money on this deal? You're paying them $458.76 over the course of two years, even if you used their services non-stop for the two years i don't think the cost of resources to have you on their network would amount to more than that. And the point of this article is finance costs of this proposition-- which are roughly $75. If you can afford to put the money down now (just like a home, or a car), you won't pay as much in the end.

Or.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927289)

Well unless you intend to buy XBL anyway then your making a saving. Dont assume everyone wants a console to play games alone.

Stuff that matters (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927311)

Who the fuck cares?

Re:Stuff that matters (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 years ago | (#39927797)

Who the fuck cares?

Nerds.

P.S.: I thought we had already established that the /. subtitle should always be quoted in full.

the goal is to keep people from PSN (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#39927313)

Sony is releasing a new console soon. 10 to 1 odds they will release a new version of PSN and a premium version of PSN as well.

this is meant to make people think twice about buying a new PS4 and pay for PSN. why buy new PS4 if i just signed up for a 2 year x-box deal?

the hardcore i play every single kill/hack everyone to death game 7 days a week on every console 10 years back people aren't the target of this

it's people like me who have a PS3 i use only for blu rays and i've been thinking about an x-box with kinect for the kids people are the target of this

Slow news day? (4, Insightful)

Theophany (2519296) | about 2 years ago | (#39927321)

Wait a minute, pay *less* now in exchange for greater incurred expense later on? If only there a way we could do this on a much bigger scale than with just Xboxes... Like put down a small amount now to get the consumer hooked and then have them pay the rest off later. A revolutionary concept indeed...

I've heard of slow news days, but seriously, what is this shit?

Re:Slow news day? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#39927443)

Wait a minute, pay *less* now in exchange for greater incurred expense later on? If only there a way we could do this on a much bigger scale than with just Xboxes... Like put down a small amount now to get the consumer hooked and then have them pay the rest off later. A revolutionary concept indeed... I've heard of slow news days, but seriously, what is this shit?

You mean to tell me, that this house that I bought for the great price of $200,000 (talked those suckers down from 210) will actually cost me $450,000 by the time the mortgage is paid? NOooooOOOooooooOOooOoOoOOoOoooO!

But seriously, the cost difference is $75 which after 2 years works out to 19% interest (slightly more if you decide to get the second XBL card 12 months later instead of up front). Not great, but far from exploitative. Plenty of people willingly enter into credit card contracts for higher rates than that. Slashdot, feel free to unearth the scandal that is short term loans, or better yet, rent-to-own places. You will be shocked, SHOCKED, to see what kind of a rip off those things are. Better scoop the story now!

Re:Slow news day? (5, Interesting)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39927537)

Two small corrections:

1) If you take walmart prices instead of amazon (more representative as it's store-vs-store) it's actually a $50 savings.

2) it works out to 6.25% apr (yes it'd be 12.5 over two years but the annual interest rate is the proper comparison to credit cards/other financing)

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Theophany (2519296) | about 2 years ago | (#39927539)

No doubt somebody will blame short-term financing rates (>4000% APR or whatever they go at these days) on Microsoft too ;)

It's not a PS3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927349)

I have and xbox and then bought a ps3 that later broke, Xbox continues to function and yet I still prefer the PS3.

The PS3 is like an Alfa Romeo. The Xbox 360 is a Ford pick-up truck. At least it costs as much as it's worth now.

What you need to know about American consumers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927359)

They love not having to pay everything up front (lay away, low/no interest financing, etc), even if it is more in the long run, it feels like they are spending less. Because today they save! and long term thinking isn't the American consumers strong point (much like our government).

I think it's a bet that M$ will cash in on, it's never about making money on hardware, and all about making $ on services and accessories. A very mobile industry way of thinking, if you ask me.

Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (5, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39927367)

Welcome to the 20th and 21st century, this is how all subscription models work.

Or didn't you realize an iPhone really costs $2,000; DVR Equipment fees are really a fleecing, a $20k car really costs $36k, and pest control really costs $240, not $20/month. Gillette razors are also not 5 dollars.

Oh and mortgages are a really bad deal. You pay like 150grand extra, why not just pay cash up front?

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 2 years ago | (#39927489)

It's a good thing that practices like these are illegal in Belgium. That's why it took so long for the iPhone to be released here.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (2)

raydobbs (99133) | about 2 years ago | (#39927501)

...because most people don't have two hundred thousand dollars laying around to just buy a house someday, or thirty thousand dollars extra to purchase a car in cash?

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927561)

"...because most people don't have ... thirty thousand dollars extra to purchase a car in cash?"

I think you mean: ...because most people aren't willing to drive a beater and save the money they would be spending on a lease for a nice car until they can afford to buy it in cash?

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927633)

...because most people don't have two hundred thousand dollars laying around to just buy a house someday, or thirty thousand dollars extra to purchase a car in cash?

Houses wouldn't cost so much, if loans for them were not so common. Same for college tuition. The more people can afford something the higher the price goes up.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (2)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39927665)

You don't need to purchase a car in cash. I bought mine with 0% APR and it has absolutely no administration/hidden fees (unless you want mailed copies of stuff other than the agreement and "receipt")

I simply waited until they were getting rid of the "old" models. Anyone who puts themselves in a position where they absolutely need a car right now is either saving enough money living far away that it's a wash, or deserves to be fleeced.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39927683)

or $384.52 dollars for an xbox. That's my point.

Financing takes many forms, and this one is neither shocking nor very different from cellphones, which are generally accepted by a willing public. The best part about it is if this pilot plan works out, they can come out with FANTASTICALLY expensive consoles in the future, and people will just subscribe to 2 year contracts instead of shelling out the giant sticker price.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#39927557)

Welcome to the 20th and 21st century, this is how all subscription models work. Or didn't you realize an iPhone really costs $2,000; DVR Equipment fees are really a fleecing, a $20k car really costs $36k, and pest control really costs $240, not $20/month. Gillette razors are also not 5 dollars. Oh and mortgages are a really bad deal. You pay like 150grand extra, why not just pay cash up front?

Exactly. I find it amusing that the concept of a loan with interest is apparently a topic worthy of discussion as if it were something we've never seen before.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927577)

Yes, an iPhone really costs 2000 dollars but unless you don't like 3G and use it on TMobile, there is no way to get it cheaper in the US as the monthly charges on the three iPhone carriers don't go down when you own the device. As far as a car and a mortgage, few people can afford that kind of stuff out of pocket. This Xbox is low enough priced where it seems kind of silly to jack yourself out of money just to pay a little less on the front end.

Re:Smartphones, Cars, Premium Cable, pest control (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39927781)

Yes, an iPhone really costs 2000 dollars but unless you don't like 3G and use it on TMobile, there is no way to get it cheaper in the US as the monthly charges on the three iPhone carriers don't go down when you own the device.

Don't you think MS would LOVE that to be the case for the Xbox? seems like this would be a good way to start down that road.

Avoid the 4 gig model in general (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 years ago | (#39927385)

The biggest problem, of course, is that you're getting the model with the 4 gig hard drive. That could be a problem even if you don't intend to use the console online. First of all, you won't have the option of hard disk installs (which can make some games much more tolerable in the loading time stakes). Worse, there are a small number of games where you won't even be able to use all the features.

Forza Motorsport 3 and 4 have both shipped on two DVDs. Because the nature of the games doesn't make disk-swapping practical (unlike in an RPG like Blue Dragon or Lost Odyssey), the way Turn 10 managed this was by making the second DVD an optional "content" install. As I know myself from trying to set up a nephew's Christmas present one fraught Christmas morning, you can't actually do the full content install for the Ultimate Edition of Forza 3 or the full edition of Forza 4 on the 4 gig models. There's just not enough space for that and the various OS stuff that the console puts on there. So part of the game's content is unavailable.

The "irony" (and this isn't actually irony at all, I suspect it's fully deliberate) is that in Christmas 2010, a number of UK retailers were heavily pushing a 4 gig 360 + Forza 3 Ultimate Edition bundle (usually with Lego Harry Potter in there as well). They also had a nice stock of the 250 gig hard drives on sale. Of course, the cost of buying a 4 gig console and then the 250 gig hard drive for it was significantly greater than the cost of just buying the 250 gig console.

Sorry for the rant - that was a Christmas morning I'd rather forget. My key point - avoid the 4 gig model even for casual use. Hard drive installs are only getting more common as this generation goes on.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (2)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39927467)

That's a nice anecdote you've got there.

I've been using the original no-drive (i.e. 256MB storage I think) for... jeez 4 years now I guess. I've never ran into any problem what-so-ever with storage.

USB keys are a wonderful thing.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 years ago | (#39927541)

They're also not free. And if you use the thing a lot, you're either going to go through a lot of them or be perpetually reinstalling/redownloading content. So again, higher cost over time.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39927579)

I disagree, all of the USB keys I've used in the XBox were free. I use 2 of them, both from conferences that were paid for by my company.

I have another dozen or so kicking around if I ever needed more space (though I can't imagine I ever will)

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 years ago | (#39927743)

That's great if you get to go to lots of conferences where you get free USB sticks. I've had a couple myself over the years.

Chances are that people who might be tempted by what's essentially a loan-purchase scheme like the one described in TFA don't get to go to those kinds of conferences.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927837)

Sooo you are saying the Xbox with no diskspace is good enough because you get USB-Sticks for free. That is the dumbest argument I've heard in a while.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927517)

The biggest problem, of course, is that you're getting the model with the 4 gig hard drive. That could be a problem even if you don't intend to use the console online. First of all, you won't have the option of hard disk installs (which can make some games much more tolerable in the loading time stakes). Worse, there are a small number of games where you won't even be able to use all the features.

Okay, see that right there? The concept of a CONSOLE with MULTIPLE DIFFERENT MODELS , combined with the fact that the console market apparently simply accepts this still gives me a hearty, smug, yet most assuredly well-deserved chuckle.

Signed, a PC gamer.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 years ago | (#39927705)

For me, the big story of this generation has been how all three console manufacturers have abandoned the traditional console philosophy of "switch on, insert game, play".

First you have the proliferation of different hardware models for the 360 and PS3 (the Wii hasn't committed this particular sin, though it does suffer from a surfeit of peripherals that are essential for certain games).

Next you have the insistence on all 3 platforms on mandatory firmware updates if you want to use any online features. The PS3 is by far the worst offender here, with a truly objectionable cycle of slow, over-frequent firmware updates, most of which are simply behind-the-scenes tinkering with copy protection that add nothing for the user. The Wii is also fairly grim, though with the online features being less central to the console, you can at least get away with ignoring them until you next want to use the store. The 360 at least keeps its firmware updates fast and infrequent, though I still haven't forgiven MS for the new dashboard.

And finally, you have game patching. I know that as games get more complicated, this was always likely to find its way onto consoles in the end - but there are still a disappointing number of day 1 patches (particularly on the PS3, where they can sometimes be several gigs in size).

If the console developers want to shore up their market in the next generation, then I would suggest they try to move back towards the "switch on and play" mentality.

Re:Avoid the 4 gig model in general (1)

kryliss (72493) | about 2 years ago | (#39927825)

Well, the temporary option for that would be a 16Gb usb flash drive.

Shipping? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39927405)

If you're using Amazon.com for your prices you'd best be damn sure you're choosing free shipping options. From what I'm seeing that's not universally the case for this stuff.

On the other hand if you actually buy the stuff from a store you're getting 299.99 + 49.96*2 = as close as doesn't matter to $400.

That's still a $50 savings, yes. That works out to 6.25% financing, which is probably on par with most such buy now, pay later deals.

I think what this submission meant to say was "Why you don't want to finance anything above 0%"

9moD up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927407)

= 1400 NetBSD into a sling unless can reallY ask of DOG THAT IT IS. IT yo0 down. It was And, after initial GAY NIGGERS from

Not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927415)

When has a subscription plan for anything left you with more money in your pocket at the end of the commitment than if you bought it outright? Usually these deals leave you much more in the hole at the end of the commitment than the $75 calculated here. If you actually believe in a time value of money (above and beyond previous poster's comment about tight budgets) the numbers are even closer. It's actually a pretty good deal.

What a great idea! (2)

kamukwam (652361) | about 2 years ago | (#39927473)

So, don't buy it now. Don't buy anything you don't really need now. Do this for 6 months. Save all the money that is left. From then on, continue to live as you do now. And suddenly you realize that you don't need your credit card with huge interest rates anymore! And you have suddenly all this interest that you would normally pay to the credit card company all for yourself!! Indeed, why pay $75 so that you have to pay small cash now, but lots more later.

Re:What a great idea! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39927687)

Sacrifice. That is what you are talking about. Nobody in America wants to hear that. They want to spend spend spend.

Xbox Live? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 2 years ago | (#39927483)

I'm not an Xbox owner but always a potential customer. Is Xbox Live required or can you just play all your games and movies like normal and it is only for online play? I'm assuming certain games require it (MW3? COD?) b/c of their nature of online play, or at least part of the game would if they have a stand alone single player campaign.

Does this version of the Xbox come with wifi built in? I thought I remember a while ago dongles for sale since it initially didn't have it?

With 2 younguns and a couple DS's, iPod/Pad, and a Wii, I'm still not sure the $99 would be worth it for our household/usage. And from what I've seen of my relatives use of the Kinect sensor I think I'll pass. Though it might be fun to play with for some 3D modeling and such.

Xbox Live Gold required for online (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39927669)

Is Xbox Live required or can you just play all your games and movies like normal and it is only for online play?

On the Xbox 360, a valid Xbox Live Gold subscription is required for online play or to access Netflix. This is in addition to any subscription that Netflix or a game publisher might charge.

Does this version of the Xbox come with wifi built in?

The current model of Xbox 360 is the Xbox 360 S. It looks like this [wikipedia.org], and it has b/g/n Wi-Fi. If you bought a new Xbox 360 in the fourth quarter of 2010 or later, it was an Xbox 360 S.

With 2 younguns and a couple DS's, iPod/Pad, and a Wii

Online play is required for multiplayer in a lot of newer games that have no split-screen. To take examples of games for a console that you own: The Wii games Animal Crossing: City Folk and The Conduit are single-player unless you connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and get another player's friend code. To play together, your two younguns would need to each own a console and a copy of the game.

Re:Xbox Live? (1)

metalgamer84 (1916754) | about 2 years ago | (#39927695)

XBL is only required for online play or for using online applications. Its not needed for just playing games off of disk.

The 4 gig 360S model has a built-in adapter.

Re:Xbox Live? (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 years ago | (#39927849)

Live is required for online play only. In fact - a clarification. A "gold" Live account is required to play games online and will get you certain discounts in the online store on occasion, as well as early access to the odd demo or trailer. Aside from online play, all features of the console can be used with a free "silver" Live account.

The model on offer here appears to be the more recent "slim" revision. This does come with wifi built in - rather than requiring the (expensive) external adaptor that the first 2 generations of the 360 hardware required.

People will give them as cheap gifts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927549)

They sell it at $99 plus subscription, so that people will give them as gifts, loading the subscription part onto the person who plugs it in and finds it comes with an EULA that requires they subscribe to something that will cost them a fortune. It's a scam the mobile phone industry did for years before people wised up to it.

The people who buys these are the ones hit with the subscription, and even if you put it in a corner and don't sign up, it still appears as a sale on Microsoft's balance sheet.

Preying on suckers - don't be a sucker! (2)

billcopc (196330) | about 2 years ago | (#39927567)

Yes, this is a predatory "cell phone" style purchase plan. Yes, it's a bad investment. Yes, there are people dumb enough to fall for it. Yes, I think they deserve to be financially punished for sucking at math and common sense.

I've been an Xbox 360 owner for a couple of years. I bought mine second-hand, actually I bought two refurbs for about the same total cost as one brand new unit, then gave the extra one to a friend. I see at least 3-4 Xboxes posted every day on my city's "used crap for sale" RSS feed, and I live in a pretty catatonic Canadian city. I would expect most people within range of a Microsoft store also have a dozen inexpensive used consoles available within walking distance of their home. For $120 you'll even get a 20 to 60gb hard drive with the console, and I've seen the Kinect gadget go for $50 or so. It'll be an older model Xbox, and no they don't catch fire or RROD ten minutes after you start your game. Mine's already got well over two thousand hours of playtime, and it's crashed exactly once, due to a shitty game full of bugs - not the hardware itself. The defective ones were from 2 or 3 hardware revisions ago, and most of those units have already died (or been repaired).

Actually, these days I'm seeing a lot of people selling their old-style Xboxes because they bought the new slim model. I don't know why they do it, but that translates into more cheap second-hand consoles flooding the market. If someone's looking to get into the Xbox for little money, that's the way to go. No contract, no overpriced payment plan, and if three months in you decide you don't like being called a "fat gay nigger cunt" ten times a day by inbred little rugrats, you can resell the cheap console in a matter of minutes.

Not the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927569)

I noticed a lot of the market place deals (granted, last I checked: 1-2 years ago) were equally crappy. Like if you bought a game digital download you paid a premium as opposed to picking up the boxed game.

I've started to be very skeptical if Microsoft advertises "deals".

Companies know this flaw in humans... (1)

nweaver (113078) | about 2 years ago | (#39927603)

Companies understand this common flaw in people: People look at the monthly cost and the upfront cost, but often fail to sum the monthly cost over the lifespan.

Its why people lease cars instead of buying them: its much cheaper to buy then to lease in most cases, but the cost per month of a lease is less. (They are just left with NOTHING at the end of the lease, rather than a car!)

Its why there is "rent to own" furniture places.

Its why people buy "free" android phones or iPhone 3GSs: They don't understand that when you factor in the monthly cost over 2 years, an iPhone 4S only costs only %25 more, not infinity-more.

I'm actually surprised that game consoles only now are getting into into the "Pay a little each month, but it adds up to a lot more" scam yet.

Re:Companies know this flaw in humans... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39927757)

"Its why people buy "free" android phones or iPhone 3GSs: They don't understand that when you factor in the monthly cost over 2 years, an iPhone 4S only costs only %25 more, not infinity-more."

Your cellphone analogy falls on it's face. My cellphone company dies not offer a cheaper smartphone plan if I bring my own phone. I pay $80.00 a month if I get the subsidized phone or if I buy one for full price.

In fact it's cheaper for me to get the $199 iPhone4s than to buy one unlocked at $799 and pay the same per month to AT&T.

Verizon does the exact same thing.

Gee, really? (1)

moronikos (595352) | about 2 years ago | (#39927615)

Maybe next there will be a slashdot story telling me that buying my TV from Rent-A-Center is a bad deal [consumerreports.org], or that Montel Williams Money Mutual Loans might not be such a good deal [wcpo.com]??? Duh?

Actually, compared to those deals hawked by Troy Aikman, Hulk Hogan, and Montel Williams, the Microsoft deal isn't so bad a ripoff. Some finance guy could probably tell us the interest rate--might be less than a credit card?

Fools will be fools... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39927689)

A lot of people cant do math, so they get suckered into the junky deal.

One thing missed, if you are not an online gamer, you skip the $60.00 a year Xbox live costs so buying it outright is even cheaper for many.

It's OK (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39927733)

This only effects people that can't do the math, don't read the fine print, and do not have the intellectual curiosity to question why it's available for $99.

Pretty much the same people that helped cause the housing crisis.

It's even worse than the article says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927805)

Because you know the 360 and Kinect will be cheaper by Christmas. And cheaper again next spring. And the Xbox Live pricing isn't exactly storming upwards so you aren't "speculating" on a good deal there either.

It's squarely aimed and people who can't afford it and probably barely have room on their credit cards for the $99 to begin with. Pretty slimy.

Or... (1)

tesdalld (2428496) | about 2 years ago | (#39927827)

You purchase the 100 dollar unit and then don't buy any on-line service and only play games with you or family and save 400 dollars. It's what i did anyways.

That's simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39927835)

Get a $100 Pre-paid credit card. Register it with a false name. Go to store and buy $99 Xbox and sign dummy account up for automatic billing on disposable credit card. Throw away card. Keep cheap X-box & Kinect. Profit.

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