There’s big news in the world of next gen systems today, as Microsoft decided that maybe the constant Kinect push isn’t the way to go with the Xbox One. Excuse me, but I think the company deserves a round of applause for this. Well done. It’s an important step, a smart step, towards making the Xbox One the system that might dominate gamers’ living rooms.
After all, it’s not as though the Xbox One needed constant Kinect supervision. This isn’t a kindergartener, first striking out into the world, in need of a protector. This is one of the most capable consoles on the market. While the Kinect offered some interesting, voice and motion control features, they weren’t necessary for everyday use.
In fact, the inclusion of Kinect actually hurt the Xbox One more than helping it. The space requirements didn’t help. A Kinect requires a certain amount of open area to work, and not everyone has that kind of living room real estate immediately available. Especially since only a few games really required Kinect. Not to mention, some people may have felt a little uneasy with the notion of Kinect always watching and listening.
Though, the biggest drawback was the price. A Kinect added $100 to the Xbox One price tag. A Xbox One without the Kinect will be $399, once it starts shipping out on June 9, 2014. That makes it the same price as the PS4, it’s direct competitor. That removes a major entry barrier.
But, there’s something else to consider with this brilliant move. Look at the day the Xbox One without Kinect launches. It’s June 9, 2014. That’s the same day as Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conference. A lot of Microsoft decisions relating to the Xbox One have been caving to consumer demands lately. People have been asking for a Xbox One without a Kinect since the system was announced. There’s been more talk about gaming on the system, rather than using it as a multimedia, entertainment hub. People won’t even need Xbox Live Gold to watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, or other streaming services anymore either.
All this points to Microsoft wisening up. The Xbox One hasn’t been a failure by any stretch of the imagination. (That “award” goes to the Wii U.) However, it has fallen into the second place position since it’s November 2013 launch, and definitely lagged behind the PS4. With the removal of Kinect and other recent decisions, Microsoft has proven that it is listening to its customers. If all goes well, soon the Xbox One and PS4 will be on much more equal footing, and all consumers will benefit as a result.