Today's big Xbox 360 news isn't without tempering, it seems. "On May 7, we launched a pilot program at Microsoft Stores in the United States to test a new pricing model for the Xbox 360," a Microsoft spokesperson told Joystiq this morning when we followed up on the $99, two-year contract Xbox 360 announcement.

A pilot program, you say? Apparently the program's a "pilot" based on its extremely limited availability – the $99 Xbox 360 is only offered in "the 16 Microsoft Stores in the US." As for that two-year Xbox Live commitment, that won't include any of the rumored "various types of streaming content," as it's identical to a normal Xbox Live Gold subscription.

According to MS, the program, "aligns with our ongoing commitment to test new products and offers to understand how to best serve our customers." According to us, this is all very weird.
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On May 7, we launched a pilot program at Microsoft Stores in the United States to test a new pricing model for the Xbox 360. Specifically, the 16 Microsoft Stores in the U.S. will sell the Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect for $99 with a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment of $14.99 per month. The $99 Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect allows customers to explore the full entertainment offerings available through the Xbox platform. The Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is a great way to enjoy the best multiplayer gaming network, as well as hit movies, TV shows, sports, music, and more. This pilot program aligns with our ongoing commitment to test new products and offers to understand how to best serve our customers.
– Microsoft

This article was originally published on Joystiq.