Yesterday, Microsoft dropped what they were hoping would be a bomb, but has truthfully only ended up being a cause for more contention in the console war. After about six months of being outsold by the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has announced they will be releasing a Kinect-free version of the XBox One. Hitting shelves on June 9th, this will be just in time for the E3 frenzy and most likely hope to capitalize on new titles being announced at E3 bringing more popularity to the system. It will also drop the price to $399.
Instead of people being happy about the new lower price, the negative backlash came. Sony fanboys decried the move as desperation. While it can be said that Microsoft did need to do something to put the console on even ground with the PlayStation, it wouldn’t be an act of desperation.
Microsoft listened to the feedback and instead of dropping the price and losing money due to cost, they removed the big elephant in the room that was associated with that higher price point. Had they kept the Kinect and dropped the price or dropped the Kinect and lowered the price below the $399 mark before Sony had enacted any price drop at all on the PlayStation 4, that would have been an act of desperation.
The Kinect on the XBox One has shown it is still a novelty rather than a requirement to the hardware package. While there have been awesome hack utilizations for it like the Iron Man tech demo for the Oculus Rift, there are very few who would consider the Kinect a must-have for the XBox One experience. Arguably having the best exclusive title so far with Titanfall, console sales did not get the spike that many would have expected, though it probably didn’t help the game made its way to PC and XBox 360 instead of being a true exclusive. Most notable though is that Titanfall was not enhanced by the Kinect, proving that players could have cutting edge experiences without the peripheral even being present.
It will be interesting to see how, or even if, Sony responds. Their lead may wane slightly if the two systems are put on equal footing though one or two true blockbusters being announced at E3 may change where the companies fall. Then again, they may have to keep an eye out for Nintendo and the Wii U making a comeback. Just kidding. No one is worried about that.