Starting May 20, Microsoft will offer students purchasing a PC of $699 or more a free 4GB Xbox 360, presumably to aid in their studies.

Microsoft offered a similar deal last summer, and apparently it was successful enough to warrant a return.

With Windows 8 just around the corner, it may seem wise to wait to buy a new PC, but a free $200 gaming console is a particularly delicious carrot to dangle in front of college-aged teens and adults.

The deal won't be limited to the U.S., as Canadian students will be able to nab a free 4GB Xbox 360 as well with the purchase of a PC at $599 and up starting May 18.

Participating U.S. retailers include Best Buy, Dell.com, Fry's Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft Stores, and NewEgg.com. Canadians can head to Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples and The Source.

End dates for the promotion vary by retailer, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to TechRadar.

Students are important to Microsoft

Despite the well-known popularity of Apple's Mac computers with college students, the demographic is important to Microsoft, Microsoft's spokesperson told TechRadar in an email.

"Supporting students and education has always been important to Microsoft and each year we create student offers to make technology affordable and accessible," the spokesperson said.

"Every year during back to school season, millions of college students choose Windows PCs because they want technology that allows them to manage their school work and personal life with ease."

"With all the hard work students put in for their classes in college, they need some downtime, right?" reads a post on the Windows Team Blog.

Will Sony offer a similar deal?

Logically it seems Sony is in a position to benefit equally from a similar promotion, but it's unknown at this time whether the company plans to offer students any special deals for the summer.

Giving away a PS3 with a Sony laptop could provide the same draw as Microsoft's Xbox 360 offer.

But a Sony spokesperson told TechRadar that the company has nothing to announce at this time.

Via The Verge