GameStop just released a Black Friday ad for a pre-owned $59.99 Xbox 360 with a mail-in rebate for $59.99. So in the end, the Xbox 360 comes in at $0.
GameStop’s (GME) strategy appears to hinge on the laziness of its customers, who may be unlikely to go through the tedious mail-in rebate process. The marketing ploy will pay off if more people are lured by a free console than can be bothered to go to the effort of seeking a refund from the retailer.
Forbes noted that the deal may reflect just how many Xbox 360s GameStop seems to have in stock currently. The successor to Microsoft’s original Xbox was originally unveiled in 2005, making the video game console close to 12 years old, and incompatibly with many new releases.
As a result, there are only two camps who may be interested in taking advantage of GameStop’s Black Friday deal: those who have a tangible interest in video games but never actually got around to buying a console, or those who are uninterested in gaming but who will use the Xbox 360 to run Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Microsoft’s own “movies and TV” service (morphing the device into something of a free alternative to a Roku or other streaming gadget).