Has it been ten years already? Yes, as Nick pointed out earlier this week, it has. While last year marked the ten year anniversary of the actual console, today Xbox Live, the service that powers that console turns ten years old. Gamesindsutry.biz ran a piece today which outlines the birth of the service, highlighting just how far fetched of an idea it was to put an Ethernet port in the back of every console. According to the developers of the console, Xbox Live wasn’t designed to be a fringe service for a handful of the console’s owners, but a core part of everyone’s experience. To celebrate ten years of success in what was once thought of as a crazy idea; Microsoft has decided to give away special edition consoles to some lucky and loyal ten year customers.
A few members of Reddit (here and here) have taken to the site to show off their ten year anniversary consoles, with both Xbox Live subscribers receiving a letter from Microsoft thanking them for their ten year long commitment – a pretty amazing surprise for those who didn’t expect to see it in the mail. Not everyone was that lucky, however.
Some users (here and here), seeing how others receive brand-spanking new consoles, mocked the ten-year Xbox Live avatar helmets added to their accounts today. Some claiming to have used the Xbox Live service since day 1 appear snubbed for not receiving a console – “Just got the same crap. I’ve had XBL since day 1,” one person said.
While it isn’t clear how many consoles Microsoft sent out, or what criteria they used to select the lucky winners, it is clear that not everyone is happy with their free swag. It doesn’t look like the gesture is going to backfire, even though nothing gets fans more rowdy than seeing other fans get free stuff, but it looks as though some entitled fans are a little peeved at not receiving a free console. It’s pretty typical behavior and even though some might be annoyed, it’s still a great reward for those who received one.
It’s also a gigantic PR move, one that shows the importance of not just the console, but the Xbox Live service as well. With the 360 on the decline and everyone awaiting news on their next-gen console, Microsoft knows a little Xbox Live PR, the same service their next console is sure to use, may go a long way.
You can’t make everyone happy, and even though many didn’t receive their shiny ten year anniversary consoles, you can be damn sure everyone who received a ten year avatar helmet is equipping them as we speak. They may not be happy about it, but I’m sure some will wear it with pride. Maybe even a lucky few won’t even hear about Microsoft’s console giveaway and just feel really happy about their fancy new digital helmet.