Microsoft will extend its pilot program for a $99 Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle subscription to two major retail chains in the U.S., Best Buy and GameStop, later this month.
The 4GB system bundle was previously offered at Microsoft Stores, but with only 16 locations, very few consumers could take advantage of the deal. Microsoft will limit the amount of units it distributes to these new retail partners, but they will now be available at exponentially more locations.
This Xbox 360 bundle, which requires a two-year contract and $14.99 Xbox Live Gold monthly subscription, prices the system cheaper than all other current generation consoles (in terms of up-front cost), and drops it into the same price range as other media-centric devices like Apple TV and Roku.
Microsoft emphasizes that it's still selling the subsidized bundle as part of a pilot program period meant to enable the company explore a new retail model for Xbox 360. It intends to expand or contract the program based on how consumers respond.