GameStop’s Black Friday ad just leaked, and the console deals are just about in line with what we’re seeing elsewhere. Just about in line, however, with one major exception. There’s one deal in this mix that deserves special mention because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it, nor are we likely to see anything like it anytime soon. GameStop is offering an Xbox 360 for $59.99, complete with a mail-in rebate for $59.99. So, if I’m doing my math correctly that would make this Xbox 360 come in just around $0. That’s right, GameStop is literally giving away Xbox 360s.
For one thing, this is a hilarious bet on the laziness of the average American consumer, as are all mail-in rebates: GameStop is clearly betting that the number of people enticed by this concept will far exceed the number of people that can actually be bothered to deal with the mail-in rebate. It’s also a testament to how many Xbox 360’s GameStop likely has on its hands right now, because I can’t imagine there are that many people actually buying the things. But aside from the supply-side strangeness, is an Xbox 360 worth the price of free?
This could be a great “buy” for someone tangentially interested in video games that’s just never gotten up enough curiosity to actually go buy a console. No, you won’t be able to play any of the newest games, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t years of excellent titles available for the thing, most of which are available for bargain basement prices at that same GameStop where you’ll go to get the console. You could pick up Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto 5, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, a smattering of Bioshocks, etc. The gaming world might have a remarkably short attention span, but that doesn’t mean you have to. A couple of years does not make those titles any less excellent, and you could be swimming in hours and hours of gaming goodness for comparative pennies. Or even literal pennies.
This could theoretically even be a decent deal for people totally uninterested in gaming. The Xbox 360 runs Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in addition to Microsoft’s own “movies and TV” service, and so this could serve as a free alternative to a Roku or other streaming device for someone with a bit of space available in their entertainment system.
This concept is likely to be little more than an amusement to anyone who follows gaming. Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s are not that expensive these days, and it would be a shame to miss out on all of the advances of the past couple of years. And the Xbox 360 isn’t old enough to start gathering its own wave of nostalgia like the NES or SNES Classic Editions, either. But still, you literally cannot beat that price. It wasn’t too long ago that you’d need to drop $300 or so to play Red Dead Redemption, and now you’ll be able to do so for somewhere in the vicinity of $5.
It’s a funny notion that people would get as excited as they did for backwards compatibility on the Xbox One at the same time as GameStop is giving away the original hardware for free. But this is gaming: things move fast.