Xbox One price cut planned from the start? This isn't the first time we've seen this from Microsoft
Xbox One owners upset at today's announcement of a price cut in the UK have every right to be angered -- at themselves. Earlier today I wrote an article as to why you shouldn't buy a new console at launch unless you are absolutely certain the full price you are paying is worth it. Why? Because you have to know that at some point in the future the price of the product will be reduced. I think the problem with today's announcement is that it blindsided us. Sure, some people claim to have predicted a price cut, but I don't think any of us expected it to come this quickly -- just three months after the Xbox One's release.
Then again, looking at Microsoft's history with console releases, we should have. Some of you may recall a little incident back in 2002 with the release of Microsoft's first video game console, the original Xbox. Released at £299, already £100 cheaper than its competitor (PS2), Microsoft announced a price reduction just one month after its launch. The price was lowered by another £100 to £199 as part of what worldwide Xbox marketing director John O'Rouke admitted was a "carefully planned effort."
Here's the thing: if that was a carefully planned effort back then, who is to say Microsoft didn't attempt the same stunt this time with the Xbox One? Heading into launch knowing it's a full £80 more expensive than the PS4, why would Microsoft wait three months before "giving UK gamers the best value"?
At this point, it's unclear what Microsoft's exact motivations behind the Xbox One's price cut are. Are they attempting to achieve a price point closer the PS4? Even with the reduction, the PS4 remains the cheaper alternative, though Microsoft is also throwing in a free game, Titanfall.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this cut had to have been planned. I honestly can't believe it was a spur of the moment decision based on the last three months' sales. I mean, lowering the price of the Xbox One AND giving away a free copy of your biggest game to date? It reeks of either desperation or conspiracy.
Adding salt to the wound is the fact that people who already purchased an Xbox One get nothing. In 2002, when the original Xbox price cut was announced, Microsoft at least offered its early adopters a "thank you package" which included two free games and an Xbox game controller. In 2014, we get a giant middle finger.
Xbox One owners upset with the price cut can be angry at Microsoft, but ultimately we should've known. Microsoft's own history suggests we shouldn't buy into new products at launch. Yet we did it anyway. It's possible the price cut was planned from the start; but, it's also possible it was reactionary based on the first few months' sales. Whatever the case, you have every right to be upset. If Microsoft is going to start a precedent of this kind of business behavior then they will quickly alienate even their staunchest supporters.