Microsoft quietly kills $99 Xbox 360 promotion

Pilot program where you could buy a less expensive Xbox 360 if you signed up for two years of Xbox Live comes to an unceremonious end.

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Almost two years ago, Microsoft began selling Xbox 360s with Kinect for $99 if you agreed to a two-year Xbox Live contract, but the offer is no longer available. This promotion was quietly killed last summer, Microsoft spokesperson David Dennis told The Wall Street Journal this week.

The promotion, which borrowed from the pricing model used by wireless carriers, gathered significant buzz, and some even thought the Xbox One would be offered on a similar basis. But the $99 Xbox 360 offer was never anything more than a pilot program, Dennis said.

"This program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers and this change was simply standard business practice," he said.

The $99 Xbox 360 promotion was originally introduced exclusively at Microsoft Stores, but the offer would later expand to nationwide retailers like Best Buy, GameStop, and Wal-Mart. The up-front cost was less than what the Xbox 360 was selling for at the time, but you'd end up spending more in the long-run and even faced an early termination penalty if you canceled ahead of schedule.

The Xbox One currently sells for $499, but Microsoft director of product planning Albert Penello told GameSpot in September that he expects Microsoft to introduce a subsidized offer later on in the platform's life cycle.

"The subsidized model really makes a lot of sense towards the end of the life. People are more price sensitive," Penello said at the time. "They are more cost conscious. It's a model I like; I'm sure we'll bring it back. But not right now."

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