Xbox Fitness Users Shelled Out Big Bucks For Workout Programs They'll Soon Be Totally Unable To Use

from the just-renting dept

In late 2013, Microsoft launched Xbox Fitness for the then-new Xbox One. The fitness program leaned heavily on the Kinect motion sensor you’ll recall Microsoft initially and ingeniously forced everybody to buy — even though many users had no interest in the accessory. Xbox Fitness included 30 free training sessions, but also allowed users to pay significantly more for additional workouts, including shelling out $60 for P90X routines, to individual Jillian Michaels videos that cost users $12 each. These users likely assumed that once they bought these workouts, they’d be able to use them indefinitely.

Those users apparently didn’t get the memo that we no longer own the things we buy.

Microsoft this week announced a “sunset plan” for Xbox Fitness users, informing them that in time, none of the content they bought will be usable. The 30 free core workouts included with the program? They’ll no longer work after December 15. All of that content sold to consumers just a few years ago? It too will no longer work as of July 1, 2017:

“As a service, Xbox Fitness has continually evolved since it launched on Xbox One, with new content and ongoing updates. 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.”

Read: we made our money off of you, and now are refusing to put any more of it back into the platform we sold you. And by “scale back,” we mean make the service and the content you thought you owned completely unusable.

Microsoft informs annoyed customers it too is “saddened” by the news, as if this is some unavoidable natural tragedy like a death of the family goldfish we all have to weather in solidarity (sniff):

“While our team is saddened by this news, we couldn?t be more proud of what we?ve accomplished in the past two and a half years. We released Xbox Fitness as a service with Xbox One on Day One and have since added custom content from well-respected trainers and have added new features such as Leaderboards, the option to download purchased workouts, and the option for users to play with or without Kinect.”

Needless to say, customers who shelled out potentially hundreds of dollars for a workout system they thought they could use indefinitely aren’t consoled by Microsoft’s “pride” and “sadness.” Petitions have sprung up over at the Xbox feedback website urging Microsoft to rethink the announcement, or at least convert all of the content into a standalone app before shutdown. Except if previous issues of this type are any indication, Microsoft won’t be willing to eat the costs required to make that happen. Instead, users will get a few platitudes and a pat on the butt before Microsoft marketing redirects their attention to something new.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Xbox Fitness Users Shelled Out Big Bucks For Workout Programs They'll Soon Be Totally Unable To Use”

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38 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

There’s a pretty nasty side effect to this sort of behavior that companies will start haveing to deal pretty soon (besides piracy of course): if you treat your content like some type of license/rental people will start value it accordingly. I myself will not buy anything digital that costs more than very few bucks (total) if I’m not 100% sure it will be permanently mine forever. Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle are among the ones exempt from such rationale because they either let me download the full thing or have polices to ensure I will have access to the content I bought if they shutdown or the game is pulled from their offerings due to some idiocy regarding copyrights.

Much like the DLC shit some companies (COUGH*EA*COUGH) are pulling, at some point it will backfire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I generally make it a practice not to buy anything digital that I can’t also pirate.

Rough, yes — but then I have my backup in case the original gets damaged (by the company pulling support, etc.)

My general practice is to check and see if the format can be DRM-stripped some way, and if it can, I purchase and strip the DRM myself. If I can’t find a way to do that, I seriously consider not buying that form. If there’s some reason I need to and I can’t strip the DRM myself, I’ll see if someone else has already done so. If they have, I download and test the hacked version, verify it functions appropriately, and then buy the product.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

myself will not buy anything digital that costs more than very few bucks (total) if I’m not 100% sure it will be permanently mine forever. Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle are among the ones exempt from such rationale because they either let me download the full thing or have polices to ensure I will have access to the content I bought if they shutdown or the game is pulled from their offerings due to some idiocy regarding copyrights.

Can you please link to this policy on Steam?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m sorry I can’t access the site right now but I read about it in one article that was discussing the issue of a company that closed and left the customers on their own. The article mentioned how steam had this policy of making the client enter some sort of hibernation where you’d be able to play your games offline indefinitely if the company shuts down. Of course this may have changed but it was on their terms of service.

You posed a good question, I never followed any tos changes on Steam so I wouldn’t know if it’s the case now.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hmmm, I still couldn’t find the article but I believe it refers to a forum post where a user posted an e-mail received from the support staff. Said post isn’t available anymore eve though there are many references to it. In any case it seems there isn’t an official position in the subscriber agreement, I will read it carefully later to confirm. The link below has one of the earlier posts about the issue.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100605062932/http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10642189&postcount=28

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Hmmm, I still couldn’t find the article but I believe it refers to a forum post where a user posted an e-mail received from the support staff. Said post isn’t available anymore eve though there are many references to it. In any case it seems there isn’t an official position in the subscriber agreement, I will read it carefully later to confirm.

I figured that was going to be the source of your statement. I’ve heard that story before, but as pointed out in that post, what he said isn’t legally binding. Beyond that, it would present logistical problems.

I presume by turning off authentication, he means sending a command to all registered copies of Steam telling them that they no longer need to authenticate the games in order to play them. However, what happens if you have a hard drive crash and need to re-install them from older backups? Steam will no longer know it doesn’t need to authenticate and there will be no servers to tell it so. The same will happen if a user tries to re-install a game from a physical, retail copy.

They could put out a downloadable patch that users could install, but I doubt that they would write such a patch ahead of time and if the company starts going down the tubes, giving the programmers additional tasks is likely to be the last thing on the executive staff’s mind.

Also, would they have permission from the copyright holders of other games, like Disney, to disable the DRM on their games sold through Steam?

What if Valve is bought out by another company who then decide to drop support/authentication for older games? Valve wouldn’t have any say in the matter.

Granted, these situations may seem unlikely now and Valve may continue for the next 50 years, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a changing market or a few bad decisions could lead to them having financial troubles. Or the people in charge might get tired and want to hand off the company to someone else. Like George Lucas selling his empire to Disney. Or the Dolans selling Cablevision to Altice. You never know what the future holds.

StillTooTiredToHaveAName says:

I gave my Xbone away

This and dropping over the air DVR support clinched my decision.

Yesterday I went to my local fire department, gave them my Xbox One 1Tb edition with games. They can use it to play games or burn it in a practice fire, I don’t care.

I’m done, absolutely done with the Xbox and any future promises and withdrawals of promises from Microsoft.

Anonymous Coward says:

more than anything, surely, this shows how the game console and game makers have perverted the way people can not only play games but can actually buy games! what the hell is the point of only being able to play online? if the game is a single player (or has that option) or is a single person usage, like following a fitness routine, why should the purchaser have to have their ability to play or their access to play/take part in, totally removed? it’s about time players/users started kicking off over this! start taking back what they bought the various bits for, their enjoyment, not just to keep shelling out every time a maker says it doesn’t want to support something any more!!

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

it’s about time players/users started kicking off over this! start taking back what they bought the various bits for, their enjoyment, not just to keep shelling out every time a maker says it doesn’t want to support something any more!!

You’re absolutely right!!! I’m outraged over this!!! I will never buy another… Ohh shiny! I have to have it!

Anonymous Coward says:

Remember back when Microsoft decided to get out of the MP3 player business and closed down it’s music servers as well?

That’s when I decided that buying digital products that require connection to the net to function have no future. It’s similar to buying canned air. Only with canned air, you at least have an empty container to show for it.

Since they want to pretend that buying something isn’t yours anymore, I pretend to pay them money that isn’t theirs either.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Way to combat piracy MS

So people spend potentially hundreds on something, only to be told ‘Yeah, you didn’t actually own anything at any point, and soon you won’t have anything to show for your ‘purchases’ other than the bank records of the transaction’.

If even paying doesn’t protect you from being screwed it’s pretty much a given that at least a few people are going to start asking, ‘Why pay in the first place?’

So congrats MS.

Congrats on showing people once again why ‘buying’ something is utterly meaningless when the ‘purchase’ can be taken away at the whim of the seller.

Congrats on making people ask themselves what exactly they’re ‘buying’ when they don’t actually own squat post-purchase.

Congrats of turning people who previously had no problem paying into people that will start to seriously consider skipping the ‘pay’ stage entirely, since it doesn’t seem to do them any good beyond lightening their bank balance.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a video game museum in my house that begins with Pong ends with the WII. I don’t care how “cool” the graphics or games are on the newer systems. I refuse to shell out the big bucks for games systems that require me to connect to the internet where I have to spend extra to piecemeal the games together and then have them pull the plug on me anytime they choose. Not happening. With all the systems I have, all I need is a TV. The games are complete, and they will always be mine to play.

HereWeGoAgain says:

MS Message to the world

My wife neatly summed up MS message:

…………………./´¯/)
………………..,/¯../
………………./…./
…………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
………./’/…/…./……./¨¯
……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
……………………..’…../
……….”…………. _.·´
……………………..(
…………………………

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