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Here's why the Xbox One is getting another temporary price drop

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It's been just 12 days since the long-running Xbox One $50 sale stopped and already Microsoft is announcing a second, similar deal.

Starting Friday, Jan. 16, the Xbox One without Kinect will receive a $50 price drop.

While Michael Nichols, corporate vice president of marketing for Xbox, told Polygon that the sale is not a permanent price drop, he added that the company has not yet decided when the sale will end.

So why stop a sale only to restart it 12 days later?

"Over the last year we made a bunch of moves to engage fans better," he said. "Included in that was a real lead up to the holidays."

Those moves included rolling out a bunch of new games, making improvements to Xbox Live, creating two versions of the console bundle, one with Kinect and one without and, he said, that initial price drop.

"It was really about positioning ourselves to have a breakout holiday," he said. "We were as aggressive as we could be to see how people would react.

"The results were staggering, it was a terrific response to the changes we made."

The result was the Xbox One becoming the best-selling console in the U.S. in November and December, he said. That despite the PlayStation 4's healthy lead and dominance in sales over previous months.

The decision to start the same sale back up just 13 days after ending it was driven by a desire to capitalize on the marketing power of all of those new Xbox One owners, Nichols said.

"Looking at just how much engagement there was over the holidays with usage of the system and the advocacy from our fans, led us to do a new promotion," he said.

The thought being that new owners of the Xbox One would encourage their friends to go out and buy the system too. And Microsoft wanted to have a sale in place if that was happening.

"It's a temporary reduction and we're not announcing an end date at this point," Nichols said. "We want to see how people react to it."

And, Nichols added, the company is also working to continue to bring good games to the system and improve Xbox Live.

"I would say that we have in front of us arguably the best games line up we have ever had," he said. "We think this is going to be an amazing year, coming off what we think is a breakout holiday.

"All of which we'll be talking about in subsequent weeks and months."

Why not turn the back-to-back sales into a permanent price drop? Nichols didn't really answer that, but did say they're looking at all of the things they can do to "engage customers."

Nichols declined to give out any hard numbers of Xbox One sales in 2014, November or December. But said that they were "pretty significant."

He also declined to discuss the breakdown of sales for systems that included Kinect versus ones that did not.

"We do see that there are differences in that mix depending on the market," he said. "But there are all kinds of factors that go into that."