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Free copies of Limbo proves Microsoft is failing loyal Xbox One gamers

A next-gen re-release of a four year old game isn't enough for loyal Xbox fans - especially after a quick price cut

To celebrate the Xbox One‘s first birthday, Microsoft has announced that anyone who bought the console on release day and played it over the opening weekend will receive a free copy of Limbo as a thank you for supporting the launch.

That might seem generous on the surface, as Limbo has only just launched on Xbox One and Microsoft is already giving it away for free. Every other Xbox One owner will have to wait before they can download it too, even if they are willing to part with their cash.

Dig a little deeper, however, and it’s clear to see this isn’t a particularly great deal. In fact, it’s more of a slap in the face.

Limbo was first released in 2010 – as an Xbox Live arcade exclusive. Anyone picking up an Xbox One on launch day was almost certainly an Xbox 360 owner, and there’s a very good chance they would have already played Limbo on their old console. Still, it would be petty to turn your nose up at something given away for free, right?

That would be true, if you ignore the Xbox One’s potted history. The official reveal event, where Microsoft made promises about family sharing and cloud access to games, but dropped the bombshell that the console would need to be permanently connected to the internet and wouldn’t play used games, provoked such outcry from gamers that the company was forced to reverse almost all its next-gen decisions in time for E3. It’s amazing it managed to recover at all, with Sony sticking the boot in during its own E3 conference about the PS4’s ability to play second hand titles.

The customers that stayed loyal could hardly be considered rewarded when you take Microsoft’s rapid price reductions into account, either. The Xbox One cost £429 and included a Kinect camera in the box at launch. Microsoft insisted Kinect was an integral part of the Xbox One experience, and had no plans to release a version of the console without the camera – a stance it quickly reversed once sales figures revealed Sony was well and truly troucing the Xbox One with the PS4. That price rapidly fell once Microsoft de-coupled Kinect, to the point that you can now get a console and two games for £100 less than the original launch system – only twelve months after it first arrived.

Some gamers quickly forgot these pre-launch problems once they jumped into a Titanfall mech suit or took Forza Motorsport 5 for a spin, but it’s a shame Microsoft feels a freebie like Limbo (admittedly a stellar game, but a four year old, previous generation one) can make up for it.

A free digital download of any first party launch game would have been a better deal. A free Xbox Live subscription would have been a better deal. Even a free digital-only game from the current-gen line-up would have been a better deal. As it is, Microsoft is giving gamers precious little reason to stick around.

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