The subsidised $99 Xbox 360 and Kinect offer has expanded to major US retailers Best Buy and GameStop, according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.
The new payment plan, originally announced early last month offered a 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect and a two-year Live Gold membership for $99, on top of a two-year $15 a month contract. After that customers are free to cancel the service - which would be smart considering an Xbox Live Gold account otherwise averages at $5 a month with a $60 yearly membership.
The final tally for this plan over the course of two years is $459. Comparatively, purchasing the same console and Kinect bundle plus two years of Xbox Live Gold comes down to $419. Of course, Gold Memberships and consoles often go on sale, so the cost may well be cheaper than that. Still, it's not a huge difference if it offers people the benefit of parsing their payments out over two years, and many suspect this could point to payment models to come if future consoles are outrageously expensive.
This option was initially only available at 26 Microsoft Stores across the US, but the expansion to "participating Best Buy and GameStop stores" suggests that it could pick up traction.
We've contacted Microsoft to see if it has any plans to expand the program to Europe and are waiting to hear back.