This will either be considered a stroke of marketing genius, or a blight on the educational system as we know it. Starting on May 22, Microsoft plans to give away free Xbox 360s to high-school or college students who purchase new Windows PCs priced at $699 or more.

I can see this promotion being wildly successful, and destroying a few college careers.

Where do you think 18-year-olds would prefer to spend their time: writing a term paper on their new Windows PC or blasting away in a game of Portal 2 on their new Xbox?

The offer will only be available as supplies last at select retailers such as The Microsoft Store, and Mashable also notes that it’s a little odd for Microsoft to start the promotion just as school is letting out for the summer.

Microsoft says it has a long history of creating special offers for students, and this is just the latest in that tradition. The company writes:

We wanted to thank students for choosing a new Windows 7 PC and give them the opportunity to experience more of what Microsoft has to offer from both productivity, social and entertainment perspective.  With an Xbox 360 students have access to the largest network of gamers spanning PC and Xbox 360, so it’s easy to find friends or players at any level. For even more access to the media they love, Xbox 360 Live Gold memberships give students access to Netflix, ESPN, HuluPlus, Facebook and on the largest screen in the dorm room!

More about the promotion on the Windows Experience Blog, which has a pretty funny comment thread with students wondering how they can get the deal and others who just bought PCs who still want to get in on the offer.

Microsoft is touting the promotion with a character from Halo who makes an appearance at a graduation ceremony. Funny stuff, just not sure all parents will be laughing at this one.


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  • Guest

    Nice promo for student but not sure how it makes business sense. When Apple does these things and gives away an iPod with a Macbook purchase,the MB’s margin alone pays for the iPod and then some, plus they can expect some iTunes/App store revenue. Here MS is selling an OS for maybe $50-60 and giving away a Xbox worth several times that just in material costs?

    • Guest 2.0

      I guess now you know how much a 360 really cost …haha

    • Retrorichie

      Microsoft makes licensing revenue from every Xbox game sold. 

  • Garrett

    As a student I was interested but when I went to the Dell site I realized that Dell is charging more for the computers in this program. They are still about $100 less than if you just bought them from Dell and didn’t get a 360 so you save a bit but the advertising is misleading.

  • Chris I.

    It makes business sense to me. 

    Nintendo has confirmed that they will reveal “Project Cafe,” a HD Wii successor with “competitive specs” at E3 this year. They have also stated that this system will launch in 2012. Giving away 360’s to students is a good tactic to convert players that haven’t purchased a system into Xbox gamers before Nintendo is able to entice them with a nice HD gaming system for half the price of an xbox.Also, there is buzz that this will be the beginning of the next round of console releases, meaning that Sony and MS will have new versions of their systems ready within a few years. IF that is true this promotion is a good way to get kids hooked on xbox now so they can buy the new version when it releases. 

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