Xbox One Without Kinect Announced: Microsoft Drastically Changes Direction, Console Now $399
Despite many statements to the contrary in the recent past, Microsoft has just announced that it is now offering a new Xbox One bundle that does not include the Kinect peripheral. This allows them to price the console at $399 starting June 9, the same cost of the PlayStation 4.
The company announced the news on Xbox Wire, the console's official news page, following multiple assurances that the Kinect was a vital part of the Xbox One experience.
They've also announced, as rumors expected, that Netflix and other apps will be coming out from behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall.
An explanation by new Xbox chief Phil Spencer of the Kinect-free Xbox One decision accompanied the announcement:
"Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build. Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we've delivered since.
"Today, we're excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build. First, beginning on June 9th, in all markets where Xbox One is sold, we will offer Xbox One starting at $399. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect."
Spencer goes on to list titles that will be available for the cheaper package--all the same games that have been out for Xbox One so far, because it's the same system without the peripheral included. He also states that Netflix and other apps will be available in June "whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership".
The Kinect will also be sold separately "in the coming months", and the bundle that includes the peripheral with the console will continue to be sold. Microsoft also announced new deals with Gold offers that will begin in June, offering discounts on the digital store--more details are on the announcement page.
You can watch a video below of the Xbox team's reasoning behind removing Kinect from every Xbox One package, which focuses mainly on consumer choice. I think the decision is a pretty damning indictment of Kinect's importance, despite their attempt to assure gamers that it will remain important to the system later in the announcement.
The new $399 Xbox One package is available for pre-order right now on Xbox's website, and the changes to Xbox Live Gold will be coming next month.