If you were thinking about buying an Xbox 360 through one of the contract deals available at various retailers, in which you get an Xbox for $99, and sign up for 2 years of Xbox Live at $15 a month, you might want to know this piece of information. In a post on NeoGAF, user Square Triangle said, “Just got an email through work, they cannot be accepted in a trade. The systems will brick or lock completely if the 360 under contract is defaulted online or offline.”
It’s not yet known whether the system can be traded in after the contract ends, but we won’t know that for a while: it’s only been a few months since the $99 Xbox 360 contract plan was instituted at Microsoft stores, and even less time since that plan expanded to other retail outlets.
Admittedly, this wouldn’t be as big of a deal if we weren’t getting to the beginning of a new console life cycle, when many people will want to trade in their consoles for the latest and greatest. You also have to think about how the subsidy model is used in cell phones. People do tend to hold onto their phones for two years, but that might be because we have been conditioned to do that. The precedent with consoles is that you own a console, and can trade it in, or sell it, or do with it as you wish.
The next Xbox is rumored to be released for sale at the end of this year, and unveiled at this year’s E3. There has been speculation that it will also be available under a similar contract plan.