Something needs to change with Microsoft’s Xbox One strategy. It’s selling a fair amount, but it’s struggling to defeat Sony’s powerful PlayStation 4. It’s on the losing end of most of the debates, whether it’s resolution, framerate, or price. The games that might bring value to the console might be coming, but so are Sony’s. The competition is real and Microsoft should start to take it seriously.
It was adamant about the Kinect since the announcement of the console. It made sense with the Xbox One’s plan to rule the living room and control your television. Things have changed, though. That’s not a huge selling point anymore. It might have gotten a wider audience to pay attention to a new game console, but it isn’t what really matters now: the games and those who play them.
The Kinect should be dropped in a new bundle. Microsoft could go about a variety of ways. I’d like to see a cheaper price to better compete with the PS4’s $400 cost. Or a popular game to take the place of the camera peripheral. Microsoft would get to retain the bundle with the Kinect to continue selling the idea of a box you can talk to to change the channels on your cable and people who didn’t see the need for it have a higher chance of getting the console.
The one downside for not including the Kinect anymore would be that developers could no longer count on everyone who owns an Xbox One having one. That would probably, like the last time around, significantly deemphasize Kinect game development. I personally think that’s worth giving up, but it’ll be up to Microsoft to decide if, business-wise, it’s worth it for itself.
If that’s too drastic, then Microsoft should try to gain good will by pushing for exclusive indie games and big games that Sony doesn’t have. A lot of it will depend on the actual quality of the games, but it would be something compared to what little it’s got now. Steam-like sales could help too. People want to play good games and a lot of them.
There needs to be some kind of shift in messaging from Microsoft. They still have time to do it. They’re not horribly losing yet, but it’s time to stay far away from that possibility. E3 is coming very soon. It’s a highly publicized event where Microsoft and Sony both hold press conferences every year. It’s a perfect place for change.