In just the past few weeks, retailers like Target and Walmart have been offering consumers attractive incentives to purchase an Xbox One console. Target has been offering customers a $50 gift card with the purchase of Microsoft's new console, while Walmart has been offering new Xbox One console customers 1 free game from a limited selection of titles. These deals don't seem to be a coincidence, and they have fueled speculation that Microsoft is planning a price cut for the Xbox One, or at least they are testing the waters. Also, running in parallel to these big retailer promotions, Microsoft has begun a new initiative to attract consumers to purchase digital games. Ryse: Son of Rome can be acquired for $39.99 if purchased digitally on Xbox One, and a recent, week-long Ultimate Game Sale on XBLA has offered Gold members deep, daily discounts of 75%-90% off of multitudes of Xbox 360 titles. These types of deals typically happen seasonally or over a major holiday, so it was a novelty to see this type of sale unexpectedly. It also seems that Microsoft has learned a thing or two from competitors like Steam and Amazon who routinely offer familiar titles for $5 or less. Finally, Microsoft's latest and most significant recent announcement is confirmation of the long-rumored Titanfall Xbox One console bundle, which includes a download code for the highly-anticipated mech FPS title at no additional charge along with the console purchase. Come March 11, 2014, the Xbox One will be more difficult to resist for those contemplating a purchase when Titanfall releases, but who haven't been able to reconcile the value to cost ratio up to this point in time.
So is Microsoft starting to get it? Recent company policies and decisions seem to indicate that they are, but it is always best to approach these questions with a healthy dose of cynicism. Contrary to popular belief, every corporation, including Sony, exists to make a profit for themselves and their share holders; they don't exist to be your friend. They doggedly pursue methods which best enable them to extricate you from your cash. Microsoft has done a commendable job in showing willingness to compete effectively for our business, but whether these efforts have been enough is still open to rational debate. Microsoft has shown in the past an inclination toward regressing back into old, consumer-unfriendly habits spontaneously, and video game fans seems to be less forgiving of these shenanigans than they are of Sony's historical missteps. At least for now, consumers can enjoy better prices, a better value, and hopefully, some better games as a result of Microsoft's apparent, new competitive initiatives. They still have a long road and steep hill to climb if they intend to earn the trust of discerning video game fans on a global level, but Microsoft's recent deals and programs are steps in the right direction.
Titanfall Bundle and Game Deals