Microsoft has been facing a slew of battles with the announcement of its latest Xbox One console. The launch event was riddled with DRM woes, a required Kinect accessory and a higher price tag that Sony’s PlayStation 4. The company has backtracked on its original DRM mission, making players more comfortable with the idea of purchasing games for the unit, but questions about the Kinect sensor still remain.
Microsoft has confirmed that consumers can now unplug the Kinect sensor from their Xbox One unit and still enjoy what the console has to offer. Any abilities of the unit that take advantage of the sensor will be unavailable, but for gamers who just want to dive right in and don’t give a hoot about motion controls or voice recognition – there isn’t an issue.
The problem with the Xbox One’s higher price tag now seems like an easy issue to address – cut the Kinect sensor from the bundle. If Microsoft was to remove the Kinect sensor from its Xbox One package the price of the unit could be significantly reduced. In a recent conversation between Phil Harrison, Microsoft corporate vice president, and CVG, we learned that cutting Kinect will never happen.
“Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems. An Xbox One has chips, it has memory, it has Blu-ray, it has Kinect, and it has a controller. These are all part of the platform ecosystem.”
Many may see this as a missed opportunity for Microsoft. Surely a cheaper Xbox One console would sell better and place it in a stronger position against Sony’s PlayStation 4 – but Microsoft says no. There are benefits of sticking with the Kinect sensor though.
In the past, developers wishing to release a Kinect game was a hit or miss situation – you never knew if an Xbox 360 owner would own the high tech accessory. With Xbox One, every owner will have a Kinect available for their system and because of this, we expect Kinect game production to flourish.
When Sony stated that they would be selling the PlayStation 4 camera separate from the console itself, they surrendered the opportunity to win in the motion gaming space. Many gamers would argue, "Who cares", but winning motion gaming is much more than just swinging your arms around while trying to slay a dragon or fighting the Sith with a lightsaber.
Kinect with Xbox One presents a completely new way to interact with technology and is a true step forward for natural interfaces. Sure you can game, but you can also control the entire console or browse TV with the gesture of a hand or a remark of the mouth.
Now that we know that Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One won’t be sold without the Kinect sensor bundled – how can they get the price down? Recent news has showcased that the company might be bundling free games (like FIFA for Europe) with its latest generation console in an attempt to entice buyers; if you can’t cut the cost of the console – add more freebies.
What are your thoughts on bundling Kinect? Despite Kinect being a central part of the operating system, would you want to buy an Xbox One without the sensor?