Another Xbox One-80: Microsoft to Sell Console without Kinect
After launching at a price point $100 higher than the PlayStation 4 and insisting that the Kinect was an integral part of the Xbox One and had to be connected for the console to work, Microsoft has completely walked back on all claims about the Kinect 2.0.
Microsoft announced that they will begin selling the Xbox One without the Kinect starting in June for $100 less than the original $499 asking price.
The new sale price of the Kinect-less Xbox One is $399 which is the same price as the PlayStation 4. The Kinect will be available as a standalone accessory later this year. A price wasn’t announced but I think that a $100 price tag is probably likely.
While the fact that Microsoft is offering a Kinect-less Xbox One shouldn’t surprise anyone given the backlash against the device and associated higher price point, considering how much Microsoft has invested into the Kinect brand (though seemingly not the hardware itself), it’s almost getting to the point of waving the white flag.
Microsoft had originally maintained that the Kinect was integral to the functionality of the Xbox One when the console was introduced before backing off on that (and console DRM) between E3 and the console’s launch. Now, they’ve gone from the Kinect being required to work the console to the Kinect not needing to be connected to the console to the Kinect not being sold with the console at all. How the mighty Kinect has fallen.
Microsoft’s Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, also used the opportunity to announce changes to the Games with Gold program so that Xbox One games will be available for free alongside the current two monthly 360 releases. The majority of entertainment apps will now be available to use without requiring an Xbox Live Gold membership.
Microsoft came into this generation of consoles hoping to set a new direction for home consoles with the integration of the Kinect along with all the DRM that was originally announced for the Xbox One. They’ve suddenly gone back on all of that. I don’t to give Microsoft such a hard time for doing the right thing but they’ve gone from trying to be a radical alternative to the PS4 to being the PS4 with Titanfall.
Still, given that smart customer relations is so seldom the case in gaming, it’s nice that the Xbox culture seems to be undergoing a rapid change under Spencer’s stewardship of the division.