Microsoft ‘unbundles’ Kinect from Xbox One, console now starts at $399

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In a rather unexpected move Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced a new version of Xbox One video game console that comes without Kinect and thus costs the same amount of money as the arch-rival PlayStation 4: $399 in the USA. The move outlines a major strategy change for the console.

Starting from June, Microsoft Xbox One without Kinect and with a headset will be available for $399 in the U.S. Exact plans regarding availability of a similar version in the U.K. and Europe were not clear at press time, but it is highly likely that the software giant will extend the offering for these parts of the world as well. It is logical to expect Kinect-less Xbox One to cost £349 in the U.K. and €399 in Europe.

Microsoft bundled Kinect 2 motion sensor with the Xbox One game console in order to provide more general entertainment functions to casual users. For example, Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, believed that the Kinect motion sensor would help the software giant to better sell its Xbox Live TV services, add Skype to every TV, allow to easily control video playback and do other things. Yet another part of the plan was to persuade game developers to use Kinect to make more immersive and interactive titles.

microsoft xbox one no kinect Microsoft ‘unbundles’ Kinect from Xbox One, console now starts at $399

While the Kinect 2 looks much more promising than the first-generation sensor, it has so far failed to become valuable for the end-user. Moreover, as Microsoft un-bundles it from every Xbox One console that is sold on the market, it will clearly not become an item that game developers will heavily rely on.

There were a number of problems that the Kinect 2 has faced: many of Microsoft Xbox One’s TV-related capabilities are already had by their owners thanks to smart TVs, set-top-boxes, tablets and other devices. To make the matters worse, there are no games currently that take significant advantage of Kinect 2 motion sensor.

As a consequence, instead of becoming a breakthrough, Kinect 2 has become a thing that is dragging Xbox One down in its competition against the arch-rival. Sony’s PlayStation 4 is not only more powerful than the Xbox One from graphics performance point of view, it also costs $399, $100 lower compared to the Xbox One. As of early April, 2014, the PS4 was ahead of the XB1 by two million units in cumulative sales (over seven million PS4 consoles have been sold life-to-date, whereas total sales of XB1 were around five million units).

In a bid to spur demand for the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to drop Kinect from the bundle and offer it for $399.

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KitGuru Says: While it is nice to see that Microsoft is quickly learning from its mistakes and reacts quickly, it is a little sad to see Kinect 2 essentially dropped from the world of video games. Hardly a lot of game developers will make their games use an accessory that does not come with every Xbox One.

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  • Ramon Zarat

    “In a rather unexpected move” LOL…

    The very first thing I thought back at the XB1 reveal with lower spec than PS4 and expensive $499 price tag is: “M$ will be forced to sell at lower price without the Kinect sooner than later”. And I was not the only one.

    Balmers and friend forceful “shove down the throat” Orwellian total control strategy of no used games, always online and NSA approved imposed spaycam proven to be an epic failure.

    I think Satya Nadella is starting to have a very positive influence on this failing company. A lot less arrogant, much quicker to react, seems to actually listen to their customers. The move to remove the artificial gold paywall for multimedia content is another good news.

    Unfortunately for Satya Nadella, the damage done by the previous administration can’t be fixed with a simple bundle adjustment and free streaming goodies.

    Why? Because the XB1 brand image is damaged with 2 strikes and a half against it already and is substantially slower than the PS4. $399 is not a”deal” compared to the PS4 at the same price. M$ must cut down the price to at least $349 to stay relevant and move units off the shelves. The abolition of the artificial paywall is also not a “deal” when it was wrong in the first place.

    To really take back the initiative against Sony, M$ must be more aggressive. Much more aggressive. I would suggest a $349 bundle including 1 free AAA title, 3 free indie titles, at the purchase of a 24 months gold, at the price of 18 months ($89).

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