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Step Away From That Xbox — It'll Be Cheaper Soon!

Published
By , dealnews Media Editor

According to various tech sites, Microsoft will announce its next-gen Xbox gaming console on May 21. As with any new electronic doodad, the Internet is all abuzz with rumors about it. Will it require an always-on Internet connection? Will it play Blu-ray? Will it cost $500? Answers: Maybe!

But since we're deal-sniffing detectives, the most interesting rumor for us is a tangential one that was first floated by Paul Thurrott of Supersite for Windows. He claims that upon the release of the next console, the current Xbox is going to plummet in price to $99.

A $99 Xbox Would Threaten a Ton of Media Devices

Firstly, a $100 Xbox would put the present day console on par price-wise with the open-source, Kickstarter upstart OUYA. Could the OUYA, a console based around the Android platform, compete with a console that's just as inexpensive, but already has a catalog of thousands of games? Further, there are rumors that Valve is also going to release a cheap, set-top video game system called Steam Box. With a $99 Xbox, their marketplace would become a whole lot more difficult to enter.

Secondly, think about what a cheap Xbox would do to the content streaming, set-top box market. The Xbox would be priced in-line with the Apple TV and the latest, highest-end Roku, although in order to access streaming content (like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a bunch of sports channels and extras), a user would have to either purchase an Xbox LIVE subscription (priced around $40 for one year, if you get a deal) or pay a monthly fee that some have suggested will be required with the updated consoles. That said, despite that additional fee, you'd get Xbox's streaming functionality plus the ability to play DVDs and video games.

Yes, consumers who are already invested in the Apple ecosphere will opt for Apple TV, but for those who are new to the whole experience and looking for the best bang for their buck, a $99 Xbox looks mighty attractive. However, people who don't want or need to play video games or DVDs may turn to Roku or Apple TV as cheaper options since they don't require a LIVE-like subscription.

Regardless of speculation, our recommendation to anyone looking to buy an Xbox 360, Roku, Apple TV, or OUYA should probably wait until May 21. At that point, we should have a more clear idea of what Microsoft is planning to do. It's not that long to wait, and if you do, you might end up saving money or purchasing a better product for your cash.

Photo credit: Stack.com



Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. He's notorious for waiting before buying a console ... often for five years or more! See more of his procrastinating thoughts on Google+, Twitter or on his comic book blog.

Follow @dealnews on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
dustSJC
Went from E3 to the local Xbox / Microsoft store specifically to check pricing for the "slimmer, updated Xbox 360."

When told the price I HAD to ask for the manager. He went to a company site and re confirmed the new "low price 360" will be $299.99 USD! THIS was before the company had to do a 180 on many of the announced restrictions on the Xbox One (last?).

One heck of a week for Microsoft...sheesh. PS4 here I come. Hell, I might just spring for my 4th Falcon N-W PC!!!

CJ W
scwscorpion
Also, dont forget that an xbox can be used as a windows media center extender!! I'll buy one for every room at $99!
AJ_TheAddisonJ
Hey... Lets not forget that you can talk to the Xbox and once I got used to voice/gesture navigation I really just cant go back to using anything else without feeling restricted... Pause/Play/FF/RW/Next Episode seem so natural and intuitive that consuming media on anything else where you have to use a controller/keyboard and navigate a menu instead of simply just saying what you want to happen seems cumbersome. I mainly game on my PC but the Xbox is definitely where it is at as far as media devices go. Xbox Live is wholly worth the sub-$5 a month fee and really if you don't want to pay XBOX Live fees, you can buy something like PlayOn and run it on a computer to get Netflix($), Hulu(Free), Amazon($), Local media files, Pandora and many other "channels/services".. Plus PlayOn lets you stream Hulu without paying for Hulu+ and it works with basically just about anything that can hook to a media server or browse the web and has iOS/Android apps to stream over local WiFi or cellular.
TheDino
I'm just getting up to speed on media centers and streaming and was all set to go Apple until I found first hand that anything not sold in the iTunes store (music / video) is not supported in their library, not to mention no support to pay any files other than .mp4 or exact spelling and perfect tags in the music. I'm looking at Plex & XBMC. A $99 X-box as my streamer is of course perfect for XBMC since it is it's own media center originally, and now so much more. There is no fee or cost as mentioned by the other comments this way and can handle pretty much everything you might have in your music and video collection. Since XBMC started as the media center for X-box what better pairing not that it is so much more. Please take the time to research this option. I know up to seeing this posting I was looking at all these options mentioned, OUYA, ROKU, I even got 2 Apple TV3's when I thought that could be the way. Do yourself a favor and look at XBMC with this. Did I missed something???????
dealnews-Lindsay
All valid points! We updated the feature to include a reference to potential LIVE payments.
ba1onypony
haha, i actually read these comments and i think we fail to realize that this market is not aimed at most of us on here (the money counscious, already full time working adults/young adults). Even last year i still paid for a membership b/c the inner (child) gamer in me told me it was a small price to pay. This year however, as my budget tightens up and i start cutting on "expenses" i realized that for the limited usage that the xbox gets as i age, paying for a live subscription just doesnt make sense. however, i have nephews and younger relatives who EACh have a live account that gets paid for them at xmass or bdays or whatever.....as long as there are youngsters and children (hell even girls are getting into it) the market will remain. plus its actually more affordable nowadays. try to recall what the super nes cost when it came out and take into account the min. wage
valle07
Let's not forget, the xbox 360 is a Video Game Console first, multimedia device next. It then added on other features later on such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc etc. Regarding the subscription fee, $60 is the RETAIL price and here on Dealnews, they report the subscription hovering around $30-40. Even at $40, that is around $3 a month or 3 redbox dvd rentals, or 3 McChickens, or 1/2 a cup of starbucks coffee. You don't get the same hiccups you get on PSN and better service all in all. Anyways, depending on the presentation, I might skip consoles all together and UPGRADE to a PC. PC FTW!
JonFen
I agree. Xbox Live is enough to make me pass over the console completely. You can get a blu-ray player for less than $99 that has Pandora, wi-fi, Netflix, Hulu, obviously blu-ray/dvd compatibility, and best of all, no monthly/annual fee.
gmfco311
Might want to mention(it's pretty important) even if XBox hits $99, Microsoft requires you to pay $60 or so a year to even have access to use any of their online Apps such as Netflix, Hulu, etc etc where as other streaming devices don't charge you that "extra" charge.
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