Kinect-free Xbox One announced

News Aaron Birch 14 May 2014 - 17:48

Microsoft has made a major U-turn on its Kinect policy, and will release an Xbox One without the polarising peripheral...

Despite stubbornly refusing to capitulate to public demand for so long, sticking with the Kinect ever since the Xbox One was announced, Microsoft has recently revealed that it's officially changed its tune. In order to further bolster sales of the Xbox One, and to offer even more competition to Sony's PS4, the company is set to release an Xbox One unit that comes without the Kinect camera.

The bundle, which will be available from June 9, will feature the Xbox One console and a single controller, and will cost £350, which puts the console in line with the PS4's standard retail price. This means a saving of £50 for those who don't want the Kinect camera, which should pay for a game instead.

“Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build,” said Xbox head, Phil Spencer. He also promised additional value for existing Xbox One owners, as well those with Xbox 360s.

“This is a new console option that does not include Kinect. Next, we’re bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold members and offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership.”

It's a bold move by Microsoft, and even though going back on previous policies isn't al that strange with regard to the Xbox One, the option to forgo a Kinect is a big deal, and shows that Microsoft realises that the Kinect isn't as popular with gamers as it would like.

Of course, not having a Kinect will mean that gamers may lose out on some games that require the camera, which could be a tactic Microsoft will employ to sell separate Kinect units to those who buy the new bundle, so don't write the Kinect off just yet. Indeed, Spencer is keen to point out that Kinect is still relevant.

“To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision.

“Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 per cent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console.

“If you buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide you want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, we will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall.”

New Games with Gold offers have also been revealed, with new 360 titles including Dark Souls, Charlie Murder and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. The Games with Gold offers for Xbox One have also been revealed. This will initially offer Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault for free, along with a 50-75% discount on Forza 5 and Ryse.

Here's the official announcement video for the new Xbox One Kinect-fre bundle.

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