$99 Xbox set to save gaming as we know it

News that Microsoft has plans in place to offer up the Xbox 360 with Kinect up for $99 with a subscription contract may well be the savior the console industry needs to keep active here in 2012. This industry has seen waning interest in the past few years as the mobile world ramps up with smartphone and tablet gaming, due in no small part to the seemingly inexpensive nature of the smartphone and the mobile data-connected tablet. Could an Xbox 360 that also costs next to nothing but will end up costing customers a bundle in the end with monthly fees help Microsoft take back the cake?

You bet your sweet gaming DVDs and downloadable content it will. If it does indeed prove to be true that Microsoft is planning on bringing the $99 Xbox to the world with a package that also includes the Kinect and costs customers a $15 a month fee (which includes Xbox Live Gold on the web), we're looking at a winner. There's no doubt about it. The only thing that limits this deal from a fantastic amount of success is the customer's notion that they need a smartphone – while a console still might seem like less of a necessity in one's daily life.

The Xbox has a chance at coming to the market at a price that undercuts event the Wii in its current iteration. That would be a power move if ever there was one, especially since the lower-power Nintendo console has sold an extraordinary amount despite its lower-power graphics and computing power compared with bigger consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 3. It's the idea that surrounds the console though, of course, is how awesome it is to own one for the price it costs to pick one up from the store.

If the Xbox can hit the store for $99, especially with the Kinect in the box, the monthly fee will disappear in consumers minds just as the monthly data fee does for smartphones and connected tablets. Microsoft, you might have a winner on your hands – try it!