Microsoft has just announced that they will begin shipping a $399 version of the Xbox One console that doesn’t include the Kinect.
When the Xbox One was first announced, Microsoft casually mentioned that the Kinect would not just be included… but required.
As you might expect, many a gamer flipped at the idea of being required to have a camera/microphone plugged into their console at all times just to play their games.
Eventually, and while cleaning up many other missteps of the Xbox One launch, Microsoft backed down. The Kinect would still be included in the box, but you wouldn’t have to plug it in if you didn’t want to.
Now, they’re taking it one step further: if you don’t want a Kinect, you don’t ever have to own one. Beginning on June 9th, Microsoft will be shipping a $399 Xbox One with no Kinect included.
This is a pretty huge course change for Microsoft. The original intention of including a Kinect with every console was to solve the chicken/egg problem they had with the Kinect on the 360; when most players didn’t own a Kinect, developers had little reason to build great games for it. When there weren’t many great games, most gamers didn’t have a reason to buy it. Removing the Kinect from the base model is a telling move, then; it means that six months post-launch, the Kinect just wasn’t a big enough driving force.
Also important to note, this brings the Xbox One’s base model down to the same price as the PS4 — which, for a looong list of reasons that gamers could debate until the end of time (price included), has outsold the One by almost 40%.
Could matching the PS4 on price help Microsoft close that gap?