While Microsoft Corp.’s Kinect 2 sensor is significantly better than its predecessor and can enable not only new types of games, but new usage models for the Xbox One game console in general, it also makes the new system more expensive and thus less popular. Moreover, many consumer functions of Kinect 2 are available on other devices, which decreases its value. As a result, a market analyst thinks that Microsoft will “un-bundle” Kinect from the Xbox One in 2015.
Apparently, Kinect was a favourite project of Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s Xbox division. He believed that the Kinect 2 would help Microsoft to “cross sell Skype, cross sell cable access and do other things”, according to Michael Pacther, a Wedbush Morgan analyst, who spoke in the most recent episode of Game Trailers‘ Bonus Round web series. The problem is that Skype and other things are already offered by smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs, Kinect is not needed for it. Moreover, not all Microsoft services are available in all regions, which further reduces the value of the device.
As a consequence, from a breakthrough, Kinect 2 is becoming a thing that is dragging Xbox One down. At present Microsoft is not interested in unbundling Kinect 2 from the Xbox One since it hopes that certain Kinect-oriented games will become a breakthrough and the sensor will gain value. But in case the situation remains as it is today, then the software giant will likely remove the motion sensor from the Xbox One’s box.
“Sure they are going to unbundle [Kinect 2 from the Xbox One],” said Mr. Pachter, reports VR-Zone. “Not in 2014. They will not change the SKU that dramatically in the first full year. It is a 2015 event.”
The removal of Kinect from the bundle will help Microsoft to reduce the price of the Xbox One. But that will not be the only thing that the company will do, according to the analyst.
“I think they’ll actually pick the [Xbox One] core model and put a 2TB hard drive in it, and then the dumbed down one will have a 500GB hard drive and no Kinect for $400. That’s the easiest way to do the price cut,” said Mr. Pachter. “The problem is that if they cut the price to $400 by spring 2015, Sony goes $349 for ours! Sony right now is in a position to stay ahead of them, and this is what happened with the PS2. PS2 kept taking share by cutting price.”
KitGuru Says: The situation does not look too good for Microsoft Xbox One in general today: it is not available worldwide, it is outperformed by Sony PlayStation 4 and it is more expensive than the PS4. While a price-cut will help to boost its popularity, it does not seem that it will be enough to make it significantly more popular than it is today.