Microsoft made a very interesting announcement on Tuesday: they will sell the game console XBOX One without the Kinect camera starting next month. The official news can be found on the XBOX Wire page. The most important aspect regarding the fact that Microsoft will sell the XBOX One without Kinect is that the overall price of the console will get a $100 cut-down.
In other words, starting June 9, all players interested in the XBOX One game console will be able to purchase it for only $399. Some experts consider this strategy a very important one from Microsoft’s part, as the company is bent to compete with Sony’s Play Station 4 and deliver a more affordable product in order to boost sales.
While Microsoft officials motivate their decision with “having the players’ greater good in mind” and “delivering more choices to fans”, other reviewers refer to the strategy in less flattering terms. Chris Kohler from Wired writes that Microsoft had no other choice but eliminate the Kinect from the XBOX One, adding that
[quote]This would seem to confirm the widely held assumption that the reason that Microsoft’s console cost $500, compared to PlayStation 4 at $400, was the inclusion of Kinect, which can read the movement of players’ bodies, identify them by their faces and accept voice commands. At $100 cheaper, PlayStation 4 is outselling Xbox One significantly: The most recent numbers indicate that Sony has sold 7 million PS4s while Microsoft has shipped 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers but won’t say how many of those were actually purchased. Today’s move is another in a series of massive climbdowns for Microsoft. It was also its only conceivable play.[/quote]
In all fairness, the fact that Microsoft will sell the XBOX One without Kinect seems to bother only the tech developers and probably Sony too. Gamers didn’t embrace the Kinect peripheral with much enthusiasm in the first place, saying that all they needed and wanted was to play.
However, if you are an XBOX One fan and want the Kinect too, you will still be able to buy the flagship product for the initial $499, as Microsoft intends to deliver both options to the faithful followers. Moreover, now that Microsoft will sell the XBOX One without Kinect, financial analysts within the company hope to shoot three rabbits with one bullet: boost sales for the XBOX One (by delivering a powerful challenger for the PS 4), enlarge the pool of loyal customers (by offering them more buying choices) and sell the Kinect camera by itself later on this year. It is a bold move that might change the game in the consoles’ market share and it seems Microsoft won’t stop at nothing to gain leverage over its competitors.