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Xbox Europe watching $99 Xbox 360 "with interest"

The subscription-based $99 Xbox 360 currently being sold in the US may become a global offering, Xbox Europe head Chris Lewis has told VG247.

Xbox Europe boss Chris Lewis has said he's watching carefully to see how American consumers take to buying Xbox 360s for $99 with a contracted two-year subscription to Xbox Live, and that the idea may go global if there's enough uptake.

"We'll watch it with interest, then we'll decide if it makes sense for us to expand more fully in North America, globally or by region," he said, speaking to VG247 in LA last month.

Lewis added: "It'll be very interesting to see how it works out. We listen to what the consumers are asking for and we experiment with different propositions in different markets.

"There are certain things we've done in Europe over the years, for example; a lot of our soft and hard bundling initiatives have ended up becoming global initiatives based on consumption patterns. The one you describe there, we'll similarly track that and see how that goes down.

"I think it'll be very popular."

Microsoft went live with the US initiative in May. The deal offers punters a bundle including a 4Gb 360 with Kinect for $99, coupled with a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold at $14.99 per month.

While the offer was initially available only through one of 26 Microsoft Stores, the company said in early June that it was to spread across all Best Buy and GameStop locations in the US, although box numbers were limited.

If the idea of paying for hardware and services on a monthly basis takes off, it could have the power to wholly disrupt the traditional console model.

"We just want to be where our consumers want us to be," said Lewis. "We want to be able to offer that flexibility of choice, making that kind of proposition available to those that want to consume that way. There are others that may choose to do it differently, and want to go down the more traditional method. I think the key it to have that portfolio of offerings.

He added: "This is just another piece of that portfolio, and it will be interesting to see how folks consume it, what kind of reaction we get, and we'll tweak and enhance it based on what we hear."

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