Xbox 360 $99 Price Cut a Stage Call for Microsoft's Next-Gen Console

May 05, 2012 01:42 PM EDT

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Microsoft's next-gen console specs rumors could have buyers holding out until the Xbox 720's release. 

Despite reports of Xbox 360 holding its spot as the best selling gaming console in the US, Microsoft's 2012 Q3 stats reveal a 48 percent drop in sales from a year ago.  It is reported that Microsoft is planning to launch its Xbox 360 Kinect pack for $99 in attmepts to sustain Xbox 360 sales until the release of the company's next-gen console hits the market.

"Microsoft is planning to launch a $99 Xbox console package with a monthly subscription as early as next week, according to our sources. The software giant will offer the 4GB console with a Kinect sensor at its range of Microsoft Stores in the US, subsidized with a monthly cost of $15," according to a report in The Verge.

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According to the report, those wishing to purchase the Xbox with a two year subscription and warranty will receive the Xbox Live Gold service with additional streaming content made available through cable operators or sports package providers.

Microsoft may also be planning to include its new Xbox music service called Woodstock to entice customers to purchase the Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 and the Kinect pack costs $299 along with $120 for a two year subscription of Xbox Live Gold totaling $420.  With the new plan, customers will have to pay $459 over the next two years.

"The subscription bundle would open up the Xbox 360 to an entirely new market of users, including broke college students and families that could never justify the cost of an Xbox previously," writes The Christian Science Monitor.

However, according to the report that came out in The Verge, customers who terminate the subscription will have to pay a nominal termination fee. This new strategy that Microsoft has come up with is yet again the company's way of competing with its rivals Sony's PlayStation 3, Apple TV and Roku.  It will also look to prolong the life span of the Xbox 360 before transitioning to its next-gen console.

The new Xbox console is  to feature a 16 core CPU powered by IBM, making it a hardware behemoth even amongst high end PCs.  This would provide revolutionary graphics, speedier gameplay, and more power for Kinect motion sensor games and accessories. New games are already demanding more powerful specs to support its rich graphics and expanded rendering for optimal gameplay.  New technology such as DirectX11 could become a standard for Xbox 720 and other consoles to make a developer's job less taxing.

Xbox 720 would target a wide range of users as the Redmond based company declared its plans to utilize the console beyond gaming into a fully fledged entertainment system.  Among this is utilizing Microsoft's acquisition of the voice and chat company Skype.  Microsoft may be already taking steps to integrate Skype's services on the current Xbox 360.  If that is the case, it may be most likely that feature will roll over to the new 720 console.

The Xbox 720 is expected to make a debut at 2013's E3 video gaming conference.  Microsoft may be looking for ways to counter the upcoming threats and hold up Xbox 360 sales until their next-gen console arrives.

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