Microsoft has announced a new version of its newest console, the Xbox One, that will not include the Kinect sensor. It will be available on June 9, 2014 and will retail for $399. Pre-orders are available now at GameStop, Best Buy, and Amazon.
There is plenty of room to question the decision to unbundle the Kinect. Considering the amount of time that Microsoft had spent pre-launch talking about how essential the Kinect was to the Xbox experience but, it all becomes clearer when you look at the sales figures.
Earlier this year Sony reported that it sold 7 million units to consumers, whereas Microsoft confirmed that they had shipped 5 million units. The distinction between shipped and sold is important because it does not guarantee that all 5 million of those units have been purchased by consumers. Some of those consoles could be languishing on retail shelves, waiting to be taken home. The sales gap is even more significant when you consider that Microsoft had gathered a huge amount of momentum on the back of the spectacular Xbox 360.
This decision is not all sunshine and dollar bills, though. It does run the risk of alienating early adopters who paid a premium for a “required” Kinect sensor when it is no longer mandatory. Also, it hazards the frustration of developers who were going to (or currently are) developing Kinect-enabled or Kinect-only games. Only time will truly tell what the future holds for Microsoft.
Why should families care?
There are two reasons why this is relevant to families.
First, families will pretty much always take note anytime a console becomes less costly to purchase. This new version brings the Xbox One in line with the PlayStation 4 price wise. The change will simplify the decision-making process for some people, while complicating it for others, as it will become a battle of software.
Secondly, the Kinect sensor was one of the most significant ways that the Xbox One differentiated itself from the PlayStation 4. This decision homogenizes the playing field for these two units.
Obviously, families can still opt for the Xbox One edition that includes the Kinect sensor (at the original $499 price).They can also opt to buy a separate sensor at a later time, but it is difficult to know at this stage, exactly what the best value will be.
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments!