The folks over at International Data Corporation (IDC) are forecasting that Microsoft will unbundle the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One console in 2015, amidst competitive pressure from rival consoles Nintendo Wii U and Sony PlayStation 4. By doing this, Microsoft will see an Xbox One sales bump, especially in the United States and Canada.
"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."
IDC also projects that the PlayStation 4 will sell over 51 million units worldwide by 2016, while Microsoft is projected to lead in North America and Canada if the Kinect bundle was removed. Sony's PS4 has sold more than 7 million consoles as of April 2014, while Microsoft has indicated that they have only shipped more than 5 million Xbox One consoles, with roughly 3 million consoles sold to date.
You can currently purchase the Xbox One Play and Charge bundle, which is the cheapest bundle available on Microsoft's online store, for $599. The bundle comes with the console, Kinect, wireless controller, as well as a Play and Charge kit and a Forza 5 download.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft actually goes this route and removes the Kinect from the Xbox One bundle. While it may defeat the purpose of the Xbox One by removing the Kinect sensor, Microsoft could offer an additional bare bones console package that simply consists of the Xbox One unit, wireless controller, and a game. The Kinect sensor can already be turned off but any functionality that relies on voice, video, gestures, etc, will not work. What do you think?