That’s right, after the multiple leaked reports last week that Microsoft was going to try a new approach to boost sales of the industry leading Xbox 360 gaming console, today they’ve introduced a new $99 two-year subscription plan. Now subscription plans for subsidizing hardware is nothing new to the tech world, just look mobile carriers, they subsidize everything and lock you in to a two-year contract, the interesting thing here is this is the first time a game console has tried this model. Yes yes we know the Xbox 360 is more than a gaming console, it also doubles as a cable box (if you’re in the right region) plays movies, allows you to utilize social networks (in a limited format) and many other things, but it’s a gaming console.

There have been multiple reports lately that this move is being done to spur sales of the Xbox 360 that have been on a decline for the past 2 quarters, in a bridge to the speculated Xbox 720 (code-named Durango). While the first half of those reports are true, the second half are just rumors. Hardware sales have been declining, so if Microsoft wants to continue to push out Xbox systems they have to do something to get new buyers and this might be the trick to do it.

Now it’s not all happy deals here, the system is the newer model Xbox 360, with a 4GB hard-drive  and Xbox Kinect for $99, which is a deal, the down side is you have to subscribe to a 2 year subscription to Xbox Live at the monthly rate of $14.99 (no annual purchase discount available). So it works out to $99 upfront and $359.76 over the next two years which totals to #$458.76 (plus tax), compared to buying the Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect for $299.99 new and then purchasing two (2) $59.99 one (1) year subscriptions which totals up to $419.97 (plus tax). So really you would end up paying an extra $40 over the next two years, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t really a “deal”. If Microsoft allowed purchasers to get the subscription packages, it would be much more of a deal.

Well if you’re still interested in this experiment in hardware sales, check out a Microsoft store near you!