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$99 Xbox 'phone-contract model' may arrive in the UK

Microsoft to monitor popularity of the subscription model, says Chris Lewis

A two-year console subscription model - where customers pay around $99 upfront for a new Xbox 360 - may be brought to the UK, a key Microsoft executive has said.

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Chris Lewis, Microsoft's vice president of interactive entertainment in Europe, said the company was calculating whether the subscription should launch across Britain and Europe.

"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," Lewis told games site VG247.

The Xbox 360 subscription model - which works in a similar manner to a smartphone contract - gives customers the option to buy an Xbox 360 unit (bundled with Kinect and a two year Xbox Live Gold account) for just $99.

Customers are subsequently charged $14.99 for 24 months as outlined in the contract they sign at the outset.

Lewis appeared to suggest that the subscription model, which is currently only available in the US, will be dictated by how popular it is.

"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," he said.

"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.

"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."

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