Microsoft Offers $75 In Freebies--Smart Move?

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Steve Anderson
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Microsoft Offers $75 In Freebies--Smart Move?

It's hard to imagine that the idea of offering free goodies to the fan base could ever be considered as not being a smart move, but the idea has more validity than some might think. Though it's got its high points, it's also got some unfortunate lows, and this adds up to a picture that might make some think twice about Microsoft's plan to hand over some free goodies.

Basically, the whole thing started when some users were reporting the arrival of a certain screen upon firing up the Xbox 360, saying that, once said user purchased an Xbox One or an Xbox One Bundle, either from a Microsoft Store or from certain local retailers, subject to the standard array of terms and conditions, said user would receive a pot of money in the form of a $75 promotional code from Xbox, good for a variety of games, add-ons, movies, or just about anything else.

That's pretty good by most any standards; a Kinect might go for about that much—except of course for the Windows compatible version which is reportedly around $200 at launch—or a game and a movie or two would fit into that price bracket nicely. But the problem here seems to be in the nature of who's getting these codes. The promotion seems to be not specifically offered to all users, and exactly who's getting in on this action seems to be somewhat varied, with some users from Canada reportedly getting in on the action, and not much of a pattern emerging just yet. That may change in the coming days, of course—not everybody who can get in has likely even turned on their Xbox 360 yet today—but for right now, it seems comparatively random, and weighted at least somewhat toward newer gamers.

Now, there's every reason to get newer gamers interested in the Xbox platform. Microsoft badly needs to recover some of its lost numbers that went over to PlayStation 4 following the horrorshow that was E3 2013. There are few better ways to do just that than to hand out cash, because there are few people who don't on some level enjoy free stuff. But the question here is, should the goodies have gone to the new folks, or to the old guard who's been invested in the platform for some time? Why not throw goodies to those folks with the Day One Achievement? Microsoft has surely discovered value in the Games with Gold lineup, and that's given players the ability to find a lot more value in the Xbox Live Gold membership.

Hopefully, as time goes along, we'll get a fuller picture of just who got just what out of this promotion, but hopefully, in Microsoft's attempt to get more new gamers into the fold, it won't forget the old gamers that got it where it is today. There's room to give everyone a bit of credit here, and while Microsoft should be applauded for taking a bold move, hopefully it won't forget the rest of the pack as well.