Microsoft today announced that beginning on June 9th, they'll be offering a version of Xbox One for $399 along-with the access to entertainment apps like YouTube, Netflix and Twitch. You'll also be able to watch live TV and use OneGuide. This version does not include Kinect but if you're looking to upgrade your console at a later time, you can purchase that unit, later in the fall. The details regarding the standalone Kinect for Xbox One will be revealed in the coming months.
Interestingly enough, a recent report from IDC revealed that Microsoft would unbundle the Kinect from the Xbox One to improve sales, in the company's ongoing battle with Sony's PlayStation 4. "If Microsoft unbundles the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One console as we expect in 2015, this should lead to rough price parity with the PS4 and reset the sales dynamic at retail," explained Lewis Ward, Research Director, Gaming at IDC.
"We project this change will lead to enough of a console sales bump that Xbox One will emerge with the largest installed base of any console in North America by the end of 2016. The PS4 should still lead globally, but the unbundling of Kinect and Xbox One should move the sales needle enough to give Xbox One the installed base edge in the United States and Canada before the end of 2016," Ward adds further.
With today's announcement, Microsoft is touting "your feedback" as the culprit for this move. The company will now offer a Kinect-less Xbox One for $399 - matching its rival PlayStation 4 in terms of price. Moreover, Microsoft is also offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps regardless of you being an Xbox Live Gold member.
"To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Games with Gold for Xbox 360 and as a thank you for helping shape this program, members will receive an additional free Xbox 360 game in June. The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are “Dark Souls,” “Charlie Murder” and a bonus game of “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.” We’re pleased to bring Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One in June. Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.” A single Gold membership will get you access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360," said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox.
Exclusive discounts and deals are also being launched next month. You'll able to able to snag discounts on games every month, with significant savings for Xbox Live Gold members. The titles include "Forza Motorsport 5,” and “Ryse: Son of Rome,” for now but there are a few more surprises coming your way. These savings/discounts will go up to 50% to 75% on certain titles. They are also planning on launching a virtual VIP room which will be exclusive to gold members.
Any Xbox One functionality that relies on voice, video, gestures, etc, will not work without a Kinect. But, if you change your mind, you can purchase a standalone Kinect later this year. How do you feel about a Kinect-less Xbox One? Would you buy one?