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Microsoft The Almighty Buck XBox (Games) Games

Why You Don't Want a $99 Xbox 360 530

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-only-wafer-thin dept.
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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Why You Don't Want a $99 Xbox 360

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  • Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by troon (724114)

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

    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:34AM (#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... (Score:4, Informative)

        by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:52AM (#39927907) Homepage Journal

        If you're stuck playing with teeny boppers, you're playing the wrong game.

      • by milkmage (795746)

        can't. there's a contract (you have to get it directly from MS)

        "The biggest catch is that, for now at least, it seems like you have to find an elusive Microsoft retail store to take advantage of the deal."

        and they will fuck you with a red hot poker if you cancel.

        "Oh, and if you're strapped for cash and can't make a payment? Get ready to pay Early Termination Fees. Engadget has a nice schedule of those. They start at $250 for the first 3 months, drop to $240 on month four and then drop a further $12/month af

    • Re:Or... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Zeromous (668365) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:42AM (#39928697) Homepage

      *rolls eyes* and I gave up my TV and cut the cable a decade ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:13AM (#39927265)

    To cell phone plans.

    • 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)
      • by Corf (145778)
        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).
        • 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.

  • Multiple consoles (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:14AM (#39927279) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      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).

    • by Calos (2281322)

      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 ga

      • by tepples (727027)

        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?

        • 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.

      • by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:37AM (#39927635) Homepage Journal
        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.
        • 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.
      • by oakgrove (845019)

        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.

    • 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... U
    • 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.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      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.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Theophany (2519296) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#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?
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      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 highe

      • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:32AM (#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)

      • No doubt somebody will blame short-term financing rates (>4000% APR or whatever they go at these days) on Microsoft too ;)
  • by netsavior (627338) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:20AM (#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?
    • by raydobbs (99133)

      ...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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...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.

        • by eepok (545733)

          While I can't speak for mortgages, I can speak for the cost of college education. Specifically that the blank check from the federal government for student loans is what enables colleges and universities to increase spending while expecting financial aid (in the form of student loans) to cover the change. Additionally, if a college/university is in a particularly enterprising area (like, say, Irvine, CA) a corporate monopoly on housing can also affect how much students are allotted and due to extremely high

          • by swb (14022)

            I've read (and no, I don't remember where) that the feedback loop between student loans and university spending is really strong and universities devote a lot of lobbying effort towards that.

            It's really a form of long-term income tax used to fund university expansion.

      • 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.

      • by netsavior (627338) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:40AM (#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.
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      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.

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:22AM (#39927385) Journal

    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.

    • 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.

      • by RogueyWon (735973) *

        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.

        • 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)

          • by RogueyWon (735973) *

            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.

  • 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 financ

  • 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.
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

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

  • 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 cou
    • 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

    • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "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

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

    So it's like interest, then. Why is this news?

  • 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.

  • Uninformed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravyne (858869) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:25PM (#39929331)
    Ugh... Sick of all these knee-jerk "It's a terrible deal" articles from assholes that haven't done their research properly.

    First of all, if you get your xbox this way, it's warrantied for the two years you're under contract, compared to one year for the usual retail package. The extra year's warranty retails for $50.

    When you figure in the extended warranty, the price gap (using the author's Amazon sale prices) shrinks to about $25. If you use the usual retail price of things it actually works out to be $10 cheaper to take the subsidized deal.

    Secondly, yes, if you get it on sale and can pay up front, it's cheaper in the long-run. Welcome to the world of finance, asshat. In the end, for everyone else, you're paying a premium of just over a $1.04 per month for the privilege of having the thing now, rather than later. Try getting anything even close to that on a credit card -- at even a relatively modest interest rate of 9%, credit works out to $422 over the course of 2 years.

    Nearly every goddamn article and blog on this acts as if Microsoft if fleecing everyone, when in fact the terms are very reasonable, if not generous. Of course they're counting on re-couping the costs elsewhere (games, peripherals, continued growth of XBL), but so be it. The fact that they expect to expand their revenue in this way is not underhanded, allows them to offer a better deal than credit companies, and frankly, is a good business move.

    If you have philosophical differences with entering into such contracts yourself, then fine, but that doesn't mean this offer isn't valuable for other folks.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:38PM (#39929513)

    "A poor man can only afford low quality boots that are $10 and last for about a year. A rich man can afford good boots that cost $60 and will last him for a decade. In that decade, the poor man will have spent more money on boots, and will still have wet feet."

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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