After quite a long time repeating that the Xbox One was optimized to run with the Kinect and nothing more, Microsoft has done it again with a very familiar reversal, announcing that the Xbox One will now start selling without the Kinect.
The new Xbox One bundle will be out by June 9, and it will only cost $399, putting it at the same price level as the PS4.
What's more, this "new" Xbox One will still allow you to enjoy the games and media entertainment that is enjoyed by owners of the Xbox One with Kinect. And taking away the Kinect will still allow future owners of the new Xbox One to enjoy game invites while watching TV, switching between games and entertainment apps, viewing Twitch broadcasts, and uploading snapshots and videos of your gaming experience.
"Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build," said Phil Spencer, Xbox head, over at Xbox Wire. "Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we've delivered since."
Analyst Michael Pachter has previously predicted time and again that Microsoft will drop the Kinect so that it can tap a bigger market reach. A previous report from VG 24/7 quotes Pachter, "I think this is a price game. I think unbundling Kinect is the smartest way to get competitive right away."
Back then, his prediction of a Kinect-less Xbox One would come in 2015, though the fact that Microsoft caved for the umpteenth time may be a good sign. After all, the company is claiming that it is listening to the feedback of its fans--an important lesson learned way back in the last E3, where ignored fans had seen a very big fiasco for the welcoming parade of the Xbox One reveal.
So how does this affect the console wars?
Now that the Xbox One is at the same level as the PS4 in terms of price, eyes are now turned towards Sony and how it will respond to the new development over at Microsoft headquarters.
Reports have always referred to Sony's lead in the market as being the product of the price difference. And now that they both have the same price tag slapped on the consoles, it would be interesting to see what Sony will do.
Gamingbolt previously speculated on what will happen if the PS4 had dropped its price even further to $349 while the Xbox One maintained its price (after the drop, of course) while it's bundled with the Kinect. If that ever happens, will that mean the Xbox One will follow suit in order to stay in the competitive side?
While there are a number of people who are most probably rejoicing at the fact that the Xbox One is now cheaper and without the infamous Kinect, there are also the fans who have bought next-gen console with the Kinect. They may have wanted the feature or they may have been forced to buy it, but the fact remains--Microsoft has held steadfast and firm about not unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One, and now that this has happened, it would be another interesting point to watch as it progresses.
Overall, this can also mean that the console wars are now faced with the battle of the games--as it should be. First-party and exclusive games will take precedence now, with the two consoles already riding out on the same price tag and with the Kinect being more of an accessory rather than a necessity. And both the PS4 and the Xbox One have been teasing quite the number of exclusive and upcoming games to make a clear call.
There's still the issue of the PS4 being more powerful than the Xbox One, but the awaited upgrade to DirectX 12 may change that as well.
The E3 2014 became even more interesting, as it can be the venue to announce new exclusive games for the PS4 and Xbox One.
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