Wednesday June 29th, 2016

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When it comes to physical fitness, there are numerous ways to get a workout: going to the gym, playing sports, jogging—even programs through gaming consoles. Well, most gaming consoles. As of Monday, Microsoft announced that they will be pulling the plug on the Xbox Fitness program through the Xbox One ... and users are not happy.

Since Xbox’s fitness programs launched in 2013, customers had been able to make a one-time purchase of the program and then, in return, have access to the content indefinitely. That content will officially be discontinued on July 1, 2017. Those who have already paid will have access until then, but purchases have been discontinued. The announcement is a harsh reminder that you don’t actually own any of your digital content through the Xbox store.

This means those who spent the money will lose the product they paid for and (as of now) will not be receiving any sort of refund. Reading through the forums, it is easy to see how unhappy customers are.

Here are some words from those who are subscribed to the fitness programs:

“This is incredibly disappointing. I used Xbox Fitness in early 2014 to lose over 20 lbs and have consistently used it to maintain my weight loss. I purchased a number of the programs and it would be amazing if there were a way to download/save/continue to play those titles.” — nos0up4you

“This is awful news for someone who bought an Xbox One with [Kinect] a month ago. I get why MS might scale back investment in new content, but locking people out of content they have spent hundreds on is unbelievably bad customer service.” — Turbostig72

“And what about customers like myself who have just bought the Xbox a few days ago because I wanted to use Xbox Fitness. It was one of the pros that made me purchase the Xbox instead of PS4. I’ll end up with a device that will not do all I wanted it to do!” — GenAcyd

It seems that Microsoft is offering a free game (which usually costs around $60, new) in place of the fitness program, but that obviously doesn’t change how the users feel seeing as many have paid over $100 total.

As for the reason why, Microsoft’s marketing coordinator and community manager for Xbox Fitness, Erica Bell, wrote, “Given the service relies on providing you with new and exciting content regularly, Microsoft has given much consideration to the reality updating the service regularly in order to sustain it. Therefore, the decision has been made to scale back our support for Xbox Fitness over the next year.”

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It seems that there just wasn’t enough revenue coming in through the program to keep it going. One reason this may have happened is because the Kinect (the system’s hands-free controller that’s required to use the fitness programs) no longer comes with a purchase of an Xbox One and must be bought separately. In addition, the new upgrade to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality is also most likely taking away from the interest in motion capturing technology.

Maybe Microsoft will create an all-new VR fitness program in the near future? If so, they should probably include those customers who already gave them their money in some way.

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