Since the beginning of the Xbox One, one of the best non-interface uses for the Kinect was Xbox Fitness. This app allowed you to exercise with the help of virtual trainers and coaches, using the Kinect sensor to ensure you were doing things correctly. Xbox Live Gold members got a whole collection of programs for free, with others available to purchase.
Microsoft Studios, the team behind the game, announced this week that Xbox Fitness would be coming to a gradual end. Effective immediately, no new content can be purchased. Existing content will continue to work, including the Xbox Live Gold benefits. On December 15, 2016, those Gold benefits will also come to and end. On July 1, 2017, Xbox Fitness will stop functioning all together.
The move seems very abrupt and harsh. It would seem that, if you purchased content within the app, such as the P90X workouts, that you should still be able to use that content after the "sunset period" has elapsed. If Microsoft is working so hard to bring Xbox 360 content to the newer console, why is it that content that was designed directly for the Xbox One is being dumped in such a way?
Personally, I am disheartened by this move. I have been using Xbox Fitness myself since the day my Xbox One arrived. In fact, it was a big part of the reason why I got the Xbox One when I did. Hopefully Microsoft will figure out a way to make the content, both the free and paid programs, available as a standalone platform, allowing those who have used, loved and paid money into the platform, to continue using the product, knowing that there will be no future development.
This concept falls inline with other closures in the gaming world, such as EA closing Playfish, the social-focused studio. With it went a number of pay-to-win type games, which some people had spent a lot of real-world money to advance their characters, cities, etc. Is this going to be the new trend in gaming - when the studio is done, so is our financial investment?
Have you lost money to a game or platform that has closed out from under you, including Xbox Fitness? Let us know in the comments.