As of now, every purchase of a new Xbox One console comes with the Kinect as standard, with no option to buy the console without. Today Microsoft finally unveiled what many have been hoping for since launch -- a Kinect-less Xbox One console.
Starting from June 9, consumers will be able to purchase the Xbox One console sans Kinect for the cut-down price of $399.99.
"To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision," says Phil Spencer
, head of Xbox. He says, more than 80 percent of Xbox One users actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console.
This announcement comes weeks after it was revealed that the Xbox One is lagging behind the competition
, with 5 million consoles shipped compared to Sony's 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold. PS4 sells for $399, its original launch price.
Left in the lurch?
Microsoft has preached the importance of the Kinect for a long while -- that it is integral to the Xbox One experience. Some game developers -- namely Dance Central
and Fantasia: Music Evolved
developer Harmonix -- formed product strategies around the expectation that every Xbox One would come with a Kinect.
Come June, however, the Kinect-less Xbox One offering will fragment the market, limiting the audience for Kinect-reliant games like Fantasia: Music Evolved
to those who own both an Xbox One and a Kinect. Harmonix publicist Nick Chester was responded to today's news. "As avid gamers, we're excited for fans to have more choices out there," he said.
"As game makers, this platform change doesn't affect our strategy -- it reinforces that we must continue to focus on building innovative, compelling and well-designed motion experiences to motivate consumers to buy our games."
When asked about how the news today might affect Kinect-centric game developers, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "We will focus on Kinect-integrated experiences where Kinect works best and resonates best with our fans. We remain committed to a long-term vision to Kinect innovation and experiences you can't find anywhere else. Developers will continue to have a choice in how they create games and choose to utilize Kinect experiences."
Added comments from Microsoft, Harmonix.