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Microsoft promises to refund Xbox Live Gold Members who only use Entertainment Apps

Jonathan Lester
Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox One

Microsoft promises to refund Xbox Live Gold Members who only use Entertainment Apps

Microsoft's surprise charm offensive continues with a pledge to fully refund Xbox Live Gold subscribers who only paid out to access streaming entertainment applications, as opposed to playing games online.

You'll need to jump through a hoop or two, mind. Details below.

This latest news strikes courtesy of a new FAQ [via Eurogamer], landing after yesterday's shock revelations about Kinect and significant revamps to Xbox Live Gold. Currently apps like Netflix, 4OD and Hulu can only be accessed with an active Gold subscription, but from June onwards, the paywall will be fully rescinded. Microsoft will therefore refund those who purchased a subscription just to watch streaming media in an effort to make nice.

"Once the Xbox One and Xbox 360 system updates become available in June, Xbox Live Gold members who purchased a paid membership before that day can cancel and receive a pro-rata refund of any unused remaining days between the date of cancellation and the date their paid Gold membership ends," reads the statement in question.

"Cancellation and pro-rata refund requests must be made by August 31, 2014 and require six to eight weeks for processing. Free or trial Gold memberships are not eligible for a refund. To request your pro-rata refund, please click support.xbox.com/contact-us after the system updates become available in June."

We're not entirely sure how many people will benefit from this, seeing as even casual subscribers will have probably fired up a game at some point just because they already had the option, but at least it's another encouraging consumer-friendly step in the right direction from the newly revitalised company.

Indeed, we rather like post-Mattrick Microsoft so far. Here's hoping for an emphatic E3 presentation that focuses exclusively on games now that Kinect and apps are out of the equation.

Add a comment8 comments
Late  May. 14, 2014 at 16:06

I'm waiting for the headline "Microsoft offers full refund for all consoles, peripherals, physical games, and digital games, as well as Gold subscriptions for anyone who believed our bullsh1t about Kinect being a mandatory and integral part of Xbox One, with many exciting developments to come."

Naturally, I'll have a long wait, and may see Satan wearing alpine-wear before then.
And whoever puts that ramble as a headline will be immediately sacked.
But I'm still hopeful we get some sort of apology, and acknowledgement that we were mis-sold their product. :(

Don't get me wrong. I love my One. But Kinect being mandatory (and the implicit promise of great new implementations) was a big selling point for me. If I'd known they were going to abandon it I probably would've bought a ps4 last November rather than an xbox One. In fact I'm pretty certain I would have.

tapi  May. 14, 2014 at 16:50

agreed, the other stuff's ok but backing down on Kinect is a big mistake IMO.

I'm probably the only one who's not to enamoured by the new 'oh, whatever you say' microsoft. Changing direction is not always a bad thing, but some of the directions they were heading in were on the right track and needed forcing through. I think they could have done all the rest and kept Kinect.

If MS had always been as keen to flip as they are now would we have had Mice, Windowed Apps, Program Manager, File Manager, The start Bar and even XP* ? - all met with resistance at first, only to become the thing everyone wanted to stick with! There's a great article somewhere out there about how great it was that MS forced the issue to ensure improvements went through, despite criticism.

The new MS appears a little timid.


JonLester  May. 14, 2014 at 19:25

@tapi: I agree - at least in terms of Microsoft's ability to fearlessly innovate. MS have been a resolute driving force behind creativity both in terms of Windows, but more importantly to us gamers, in terms of home consoles.

The Xbox 360 is one of the most important home consoles ever released. It pioneered the ubiquitous online services we take for granted today, it effectively started the concept of console download marketplaces with XBLA, it pushed boutique and indie games onto consoles (where they're now a staple of our gaming diet, and thriving - we have Super Meat Boy, Braid and MS to thank for that) and even let indie devs self-publish their games with no oversight thanks to XBLIG.

But... there's no smoke without fire, and that was all back when MS was being driven by creative developers such as Bill Gates or J Allard. I admit to demonising Don Mattrick, but the fact is that he joined Microsoft in 2007 (fresh from EA no less) and gradually stamped the brakes on the more innovative aspects of the system, instead ramping up the focus on timed exclusivity and DLC. And then basically set the Xbox One's direction in stone. TV TV TV... and Kinect.

They've been dealt a bum hand, and have to play the cards they've got now. With the old guard gone, the new management's options are somewhat limited and, frankly, they have to try and level the playing field somehow.

Mind you, as an early adopter myself, I hate that Kinect has been thrown under the bus. I would have much preferred Microsoft to cut out HDMI passthrough, worked on releasing a cheaper Kinect sensor or even just taken a loss to ensure a competitive RRP.

@Late: You'll need to start a class action lawsuit for that, probably.

Last edited by JonLester, May. 14, 2014 at 19:36
imdurc  May. 15, 2014 at 00:09

It's interesting to see how some react to losing a guaranteed bundled accessory like the Kinect from the Xbox One package. Some see it as a complete loss, while others don't care. Me? Well, on one hand, I understand that people enjoyed the voice activation stuff. But, that's pretty much all I've heard. No mention of amazing Kinect (2) games. So, is this really a loss?

If the support has been anything like the Xbox 360 Kinect, then it's still going to be good for those that do own one. Saying that, if it's still not seen as something you 'need' to own, it's probably best to make it a separately sold product.

And remember, it's not dead and gone! And that's the most important point here. They haven't killed it off! All they've done is add a cheaper package option that sells an Xbox One alone. No Kinect required.

I don't own an Xbox One, but, if I ever did want one, I'm happy they're giving consumers a choice, i.e. Kinect bundle or non.

imdurc  May. 15, 2014 at 00:09

double-post :\

Last edited by imdurc, May. 15, 2014 at 00:10
tapi  May. 15, 2014 at 00:46

@indurc, but the problem is that without the kinect being guaranteed available to the user, the less inclined developers will be to include novel features that take advantage.

if the motion controller had been optional for the wii, would the games have been released that used it, and if not would owners have had an incentive to buy one as an add-on (probably not a good example as nintendo tightly control and release the vast percentage of games)

the original kinect was a success in terms of sales, but suffered from not being guaranteed and also came late in the consoles lifecycle so devs pretty much ignored it. MS had the chance to capitalise on the 'preview' people had of the potential and fill that gap by ensuring it was there for games to exploit.

imdurc  May. 15, 2014 at 15:11

Well, look at how long the XOne has been out with a guaranteed Kinect - What games really use it better than the Xbox 360's Kinect 1.0? I haven't heard of any. Better functionality, but not much more. And that is a glaring truth that someone at Microsoft has acknowledged.

Plus, dev teams have been developing games well before the XO release, so that's no excuse for a lack of Kinect focussed titles. The truth is, it was never destined to be more than what it had been with the old 1.0 Kinect.
It reminds me of the Wii in a way. Here's this new motion tech, but it was either largely ignored or was badly implemented. And of the titles I played with Kinect 1.0, that's the same impression I got there, too. Kinect Sports was a lot of fun with friends, but Steel Battalion still haunts me!

Anyway, point is, nothing has really changed. If it has, I'd love to see a title that makes people want a Kinect. But, if it hasn't happened by now, it's a not a big loss. XOne owners, don't lose sleep over it.

Late  May. 15, 2014 at 15:36

...if it hasn't happened by now, it's a not a big loss.

I was in it for the potential.
Kinect is reasonable, but not great. Greatness was to come later - with improved response/recognition, improved gameplay experiences, and other implementations I couldn't imagine.

Now it looks to be stuck at reasonable, never to fulfil it's full potential.


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