Rumor has it that a new Xbox 360 Kinect bundle is on the way—and this one won't cost $300. In fact, The Verge says Microsoft is on the cusp of unveiling a $99 Kinect bundle with a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription tie-in. The site's sources expect an announcement "as early as next week."
As part of the rumored deal, users would plunk down $99 for the 4GB version of the system with a bundled Kinect sensor, and they'd enter a two-year contract with a $15 monthly fee. The fee would entitle them to an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Users would also receive warranty coverage throughout the two-year period.
As The Verge points out, the total cost of ownership after two years would add up to $459. By contrast, the 4GB Kinect bundle costs $300 today, and two years of Xbox Live Gold membership will set you back $120—so, you'd be paying $420 in total. Taking home a Kinect-enabled Xbox after a measly $99 down payment has definite appeal, though; I wouldn't be surprised to see users go with that option, even if it costs more in the long run...
...that is, provided there's any truth to the rumor. I suppose we'll find out soon enough.