Time is a funny thing in the video game business and marketing strategies set in stone are sometimes rethought we things don’t really go as planned. Despite continuing to say over and over again that the Kinect that was bundled with the Xbox One was required to get the best experience out of the console and there were no plans to sell a Kinect-less version of the console, Microsoft has decided that it will yield to will of gamers buying the console and offer console bundle that does not include the Kinect bundled with it.
Starting June 9th, 2014 those wanting to buy an Xbox One will have the choice to buy it for $399 without the Kinect bundled with it. Of course that is a $100 savings over the $499 price of the Xbox One with Kinect. Microsoft says that they will be making the Kinect available as a separately to allow those buying the Kinect-less consoles to add Kinect later if they desire. While no price was announced for the Kinect to be sold separately, sources tell us that it will likely sold for between $120 to $130.
Consumers demand more choice
Microsoft is positioning the decision to sell a Kinect-less bundle as a response to the demand of the buyers wanting more choice in the configuration of their Xbox One console. Top Xbox head-honcho Phil Spencer added that “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision.”
The news is sure to be met with a variety of responses depending on where you are in the buying cycle of a Xbox One console. Those that have wanted to buy and Xbox One, but opposed both the price and Kinect, will likely rejoice at the news which means they will buy soon. Those who have already purchased the Xbox One with Kinect because they wanted the Xbox One, but had no choice, but to buy it will Kinect will be unhappy and wonder if they can send their Kinect back to Microsoft for credit.
As for developers who have been adding Kinect support to Xbox One titles because each and every unit had a Kinect and they wanted to take advantage of that fact will now be forced to rethink things going forward.
So much for Kinect-only titles
While developers have use the Xbox One in a number of ways, there have been very few titles so far that have provided what would be best described as a Kinect-Only experience and with Kinect being dropped from the bundle we have to think that developers will be hard pressed to want to develop Kinect-Only experiences which that number represents a much smaller number of the total of the installed user base.
As for Kinect on the Xbox One itself, we don’t know what the future will hold. It sure does seem to us however that the Kinect has been put in a rather awkward position. While there are a number of things that it does add to the Xbox One, we can’t help but think that a lot of its use will be limited to voice commands, video chat using Skype, and maybe scanning QR codes?
Other than using it for optional voice command, we not sure that Kinect-Only experiences like the recently released Kinect Sports Rivals are going to be a focus for developers which means usage of the Kinect maybe dying over the long term.