The promotion, which borrowed from the pricing model used by wireless carriers, gathered significant buzz, and some even thought the Xbox One would be offered on a similar basis. But the $99 Xbox 360 offer was never anything more than a pilot program, Dennis said.
"This program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers and this change was simply standard business practice," he said.
The $99 Xbox 360 promotion was originally introduced exclusively at Microsoft Stores, but the offer would later expand to nationwide retailers like Best Buy, GameStop, and Wal-Mart. The up-front cost was less than what the Xbox 360 was selling for at the time, but you'd end up spending more in the long-run and even faced an early termination penalty if you canceled ahead of schedule.
"The subsidized model really makes a lot of sense towards the end of the life. People are more price sensitive," Penello said at the time. "They are more cost conscious. It's a model I like; I'm sure we'll bring it back. But not right now."