MS burns Xbox One owners with no reward for early adopters

I’m sure a lot of Xbox One early adopters feel a little burned by today’s news of a $399 Kinect-less Xbox One SKU. If you bought an Xbox One in the last six months and want some sort of compensation for spending $100 more on the system with Kinect, don’t get your hopes up. Microsoft has this to say about rewards for early adopters:

No. As with many first generation products, the offerings can be expected to change and evolve over time. Kinect remains an integral part of our vision. Xbox One is better with Kinect, making games, TV and entertainment come alive with premium experiences

While this was expected, its a bit disappointing. There is plenty of precedent for Microsoft to NOT give anything to early adopters. The original Xbox received a $100 price cut in May 2002 after six months and consumers didn’t get anything then.

But since Nintendo rewarded 3DS early adopters with 20 free games after a $80 price cut in July 2011, pretty much everyone wants some sort of “we’re sorry” when a console maker cuts a new system’s price shortly after launch. When we look back in 20 years I really think Nintendo’s 3DS Ambassador’s program will have had a huge impact on the gaming industry as a whole as the expectation of compensation has spread past Nintendo platforms.

Do Xbox One early adopters deserve something for their loyalty? I’d argue that they do. You can say that Microsoft didn’t cut the system’s price but took something out. That’s true, this is a different scenario than Nintendo’s 3DS price cut in 2011. They didn’t take out the 3D screen, just slashed the price.

But its hard to ignore that a lot of Xbox One fans would have traded the Kinect for $100 off the system at launch. Microsoft had this request coming in since May 2013 but ignored it. This isn’t a new issue by any means. They had to know that as soon as they reversed the used game DRM last summer that they opened the floodgates and that the fan demand for removing Kinect would only get stronger. This puts a unique spin on the whole idea of early adopters deserving some sort of compensation because its not like Microsoft hasn’t had the time to figure something out.

I do think early adopters deserve something from Microsoft but obviously it won’t happen. Maybe they’ll pull another 180 and reward early adopters in the future but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. There is plenty of precedent for Microsoft to use as an argument to not give Xbox One owners anything for their money but that doesn’t make this $100 price reduction any easier to swallow for those who bought the $499 Kinect SKU.