May 3, 2012
Microsoft Rumored To Be Taking On Cellphone-Style Subscription Model For Xbox
As more and more companies make moves to provide premium streaming content to their users, it´s become very likely the outdated business of cable television may be on its way out. After all, it doesn´t make much sense to have to buy an entire cable package if all you want is to be able to watch your favorite sports teams.
Companies like Netflix and Hulu have seen some success with a subscription-based business model, offering their customers unlimited access for a low monthly fee. Netflix, for instance, works on a myriad of machines, including but not limited to the Apple TV, Boxee Box and Microsoft´s Xbox.
In an attempt to capture some of these subscription users and get even more Xbox consoles into American living rooms, Microsoft could start selling a $99 console package with a monthly subscription fee as early as next week, according to sources at The Verge.
Tom Warren reports Microsoft is expected to offer a low cost 4GB unit and Kinect sensor package in their US Microsoft Stores, providing customers sign a 2-year contract, much like those used in the mobile phone industry.
These subsidized monthly fees will cost $15 and will provide customers with access to the Xbox Gold Live service, as well as “some additional streaming content from cable providers or sports package providers.”
In another move similar to the mobile phone industry, those customers who wish to terminate their contract early will have to pay a fee to do so.
Microsoft is expected to release such a package to position the Xbox against other streaming competitors such as the Apple TV, Roku and Sony´s Playstation 3.
With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012) approaching in June, Microsoft could also be offering these packages as a ramp up to some very big announcements. Some sources say the Washington-based company will release a replacement to their Zune music service during E3 2012. Codenamed “Woodstock,” the new music service could further separate Microsoft from their now defunct Zune brand and move them towards the more successful Xbox brand.
In another piece by The Verge, “Woodstock” will work across multiple platforms, such as Windows 8, Android and iOS and can be played within a web-browser. The new service is also expected to work without any plug-ins and will be deeply integrated with Facebook, allowing friends to share music and playlists with one another.
Though the company is expected to announce these services during E3 2012, sources to The Verge say Microsoft will launch the new service along with the new Windows 8 and Windows 8 phones.
The current Xbox model, the 6-year-old Xbox 360, is starting to look long-in-the-tooth according to some analysts and will not be getting a refresh during E3 2012. As such, these new subscriptions and services from Microsoft could serve to move a few more units and sign up even more customers to their streaming services.