Category Archives: Bargains

Free app turns your Wii balance board into an electronic scale

wiifitplus

Got a Wii Fit balance board just lying around, collecting dust? A free Android app called FitScales will repurpose it into an electronic scale that shows your weight on an Android smartphone, via Bluetooth. As a bonus, it will sync with Fitbit and RunKeeper.

Just Wow! Microsoft Store went from zero to hero in 24 hours

When ordering something online, no vendor will ever be 100% mistake-free, so I judge them on how well they fix their mistakes when they inevitably happen.  Well, Microsoft Store made a big booboo – and then they did the best thing EVER to make up for it.

MS Store was offering a sweet deal where if you preordered one of several Xbox 360 games, you got 1600 free Xbox points and a $10-off coupon.  I don’t usually preorder games, but since I felt confident about Just Dance 4 and I needed some points, I bit.

As the release date (today) approached, I stalked my emailbox for a shipping notice.  Yesterday an email from MS arrived, but instead of saying the game had shipped, it bore the soul-shattering headline:  “Microsoft Store – Order Cancellation Notice.”  It went on to say that the order had been cancelled, no reason given.  Whaaa??

I checked the order on the site: order cancelled, no game or points for me.  I chatted with one of their online CS people, who was very polite, but couldn’t tell me anything except they would look into it and respond within 48 hours.

At least I wasn’t alone in my confusion and disappointment.  People on sites like Slickdeals and Cheap Ass Gamer were also getting mysterious cancellations, and fuming.  Not much love for MS was being shown.

Then, last night, this email arrived:

Thanks for your recent order from Microsoft online store.

Due to a system error, your order was mistakenly and temporarily cancelled, and you probably got an email from us telling you that. The good news is that we were able to fix it, and your order is now back in our system and on its way to you. The even better news is that, to apologize for the confusion, we’re going to send your order to you for free, at no charge to you.

Not only will you get your order free, you’ll still get $10 off your next order and 1600 free Xbox LIVE points that you already had coming to you.

It’s our way of letting you know how much we appreciate your business.

Thanks for shopping at Microsoft online store.

Holy customer service, Batman!

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and since my order was still showing up as “cancelled”, I called MS and spoke to a rep who could barely speak English and just reiterated what the online chatter said yesterday, that I would get a response within a day.  I hung up, not knowing what to think.  About 15 minutes later, my doorbell rang.

Just Dance 4 was there, shipped Next Day Air!  WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!

This might be the first time I’ve ever had a game in my hands before noon on release day, and FREE.  Thank you, thank you, Microsoft.  I would’ve been happy just to get the original order uncancelled, but they went above and beyond.

Brand new Xbox with Kinect for only $99!*

Xbox Live Marketplace

Xbox Live Marketplace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*There’s a catch – why wouldn’t there be?  According to Joystiq, some GameStop and Best Buy locations are selling Xbox/Kinect console bundles, normally priced around $250-300, for only $99 provided you also sign up for Xbox Live Gold for 2 years at $15 per month.

If you do the math, which Joystiq did for you, you will actually end up spending about $60 more over the next 2 years under this contract, than if you bought the bundle at retail plus two 12-month XBLG cards for $50 each.  So basically it’s the same marketing trick as rent-to-own or building up debt on your credit card:  pay less now, but more in the long run.

It should be interesting to see how well this cell-phone pricing model works for Xbox.  Just FYI, you can still do a lot on Xbox Live for free, without paying for the extra Gold subscription.  You can still buy downloadable add-ons and songs for games like Just Dance 3 and Dance Central, use Your Shape‘s online workout-tracking features, and download free demos of Kinect games (you may have to wait a week or two for them to become available to non-Gold members).

Let’s Dance: multi-platform, multi-player and forget about the price tag

Let’s Dance, which was released last year in the UK as Let’s Dance with Mel B, is entering the crowded dance game floor this month in North America.  It’s going to come out on Wii, PS3 Move and Kinect, and great news for penny-pinchers, it has a list price of $20 on all three consoles.

Screenshot of Let's Dance for Xbox 360 Kinect

The Kinect version looks like a cross between Just Dance and DanceMasters in that your dancing image can be placed right up there “on stage”.  While I don’t see anything about a workout mode, the game’s website describes a “Survival Mode” where you apparently dance nonstop till you drop.

Recently-released Kinect active games have dropped to bargain-bin prices

Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure for Xbox360 Kinect

I couldn’t help noticing some price cuts on Kinect games recently on Amazon. Self-Defense Training Camp is $16 at this writing, as is Deepak Chopra’s Leela. Power Up Heroes, a fighting game which several reviewers say is also a good workout, is being sold for under $20 by several third-party merchants on Amazon.  For Jillian Michaels fans, Jillian’s Fitness Adventure is $20 at the moment.

GameStop also has some Kinect game deals coming up starting April 1, according to a flyer I just picked up:  Twister Mania for $10 and Kung-Fu High Impact for $20 interest me the most.  I downloaded demos for both games from Xbox Live, and they’re fun, especially Kung-Fu.

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