Microsoft, in their effort to continue “delivering more choices for fans,” announced today via the official Xbox Wire blog that gamers can purchase a Kinect-free Xbox One for $399 starting June 9th. This gives Microsoft a console at a price point to rival the PS4, both of which will now come without their camera-based sensors.
Many gamers cited the $100 price difference as a notch in the PS4’s belt in the past, and others stated unhappiness with the Kinect sensor’s “always on” mode that made them feel as if they were being watched. By releasing a Kinect-free version of the Xbox One, Microsoft addresses both of those issues. Getting rid of the sensor may actually not have a huge affect on players today if the XBox Wire’s statistics are valid:
Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console. Some of the most popular voice commands include “Xbox On,” “Xbox Broadcast” and “Xbox Record That.”
120 voice commands a month averages to roughly three a day, and here are the three that I imagine would be the top commands:
- XBox On
- Xbox, Play __________
- XBox Off.
Not quite a huge impact on my gaming experience if I had to use my controller to do those three things, so there may not be a large amount of sacrifice right now to not have a Kinect sensor. Knocking $100 off of the price takes some of the sticker shock away from comparing the Xbox One to the Playstation 4, and might help to sell One’s on future multi-platform releases like Destiny.
Even with the price drop, questions about the Xbox One’s competitiveness against the PS4 still exist. Much of the XBox One’s architecture is designed for voice and motion input with the Kinect; will users who don’t have the sensor just feel like they’re using a crippled version of the Xbox One experience? Will developers be interested in making software that integrates the Kinect into their games when they know that some of the console’s user base won’t have the sensor? The price drop may help the One compete in the short-term, but it may also damage their ability to differentiate themselves from the PS4 as the console wars rage on.
Users who buy an Xbox One without the Kinect sensor will be able to purchase the standalone Kinect sensor this Fall. Keep tuned to GotGame for more information and updates as they develop.