Highlights from Interbike 2014

Microsoft to sell Xbox One without Kinect, and drop paid-only access to entertainment apps

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May 13, 2014

Microsoft will sell a cheaper version of its console that does not include the sensor

Microsoft will sell a cheaper version of its console that does not include the sensor

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Microsoft has announced a turn-around on its policy towards the somewhat controversial Kinect sensor, usually bundled with its next-gen Xbox One console. In what is likely a response to pressure from both consumers and the strong sales of Sony’s competing PlayStation 4 system, the company has today announced that it will sell its latest console without the Kinect sensor, lowering the price of entry to the system.

The company will start selling a version of the console that does not include the sensor on June 9 for US$399, bringing its price in line with that of the PS4. As you might expect, the sensor itself will then be sold separately for anyone who picks up the cheaper version of the system but wants to add the extra functionality afforded by the Kinect at a later date. There is currently no word on how much the Kinect will cost on its own, but we do know it will be released this fall (Northern Hemisphere).

Microsoft’s Xbox division has had a rocky year since it announced its next-gen console almost 12 months ago. Having already reversed its always-online and used game policies before launch, the company has faced an uphill struggle in convincing consumers that the Kinect sensor was an integral part of the new system, and one that warranted its higher cost over the slightly more powerful PlayStation 4.

Despite making the decision to sell the sensor separately, Microsoft isn't quite throwing in the towel yet, emphasizing that the version of the console that does include Kinect is superior to the new, cheaper offering, and provides more of the functionality that the company originally intended.

In our review of the console back in November, we found the Kinect sensor to be a useful, but imperfect addition to an otherwise enticing system. Whether or not its extra functionality is worth the higher price tag over the Kinect-less version of the console will likely come down to personal preference, and how you intend to use the system.

The above is a selection of the apps that will now be accessible without an Xbox Live Gold...

Microsoft made one other significant announcement today, and it's one that affects both Xbox One and Xbox 360 users. Until now, Xbox users who want to use their console to access entertainment apps such as YouTube, Netflix or Hulu, were required to have an active paid Xbox Live Gold membership. This always seemed a little unfair as many such services already require a paid subscription. However, from June onwards, users will be able to access the services whether they have a paid Xbox Live account or not – definitely a welcome change.

Source: Microsoft

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About the Author
Chris Wood Chris specializes in mobile technology for Gizmag, but also likes to dabble in the latest gaming gadgets. He has a degree in Politics and Ancient History from the University of Exeter, and lives in Gloucestershire, UK. In his spare time you might find him playing music, following a variety of sports or binge watching Game of Thrones.   All articles by Chris Wood
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4 Comments

Microsoft badly mishandled the Xbox launch. These are 2 more of several decisions they have now had to reverse.

Xbox was going to have a DRM policy that prevented used games from playing, it was going to require a persistent connection to the Internet to even play games locally, Kinect was going to be required to even turn the console on etc.

I am amazed the Xbox one sales even landed as close to PS4 as they did and I suspect the only reason that is the case is they reversed some of the bigger decisions before launch. Any hardware refresh of the 360 was destined to sell millions of copies yet they nearly went out of their way to mess it up.

While some people might get some use out of the Kinect I think that extra $100 would have been better spent putting a $2 microphone on the console itself and beefing up the horsepower of the console to outperform the PS4 since its meant to last ~10 years. It would almost be hard to find anyone that could have done a worse job of decision making with the Xbox One launch.

The current One can't even run 1080p at 60fps. If I were them instead of just sitting on their hands riding reduced manufacturing costs to a profit over the next ~10 years what I would do is once hardware allows it offer a faster console that supports ~1080p at decent fps but comes with 2 HDMI out ports that can be used to either drive 2 displays or power Oculus rifts with an adapter if you don't have room for a spare display.

Daishi
13th May, 2014 @ 03:13 pm PDT

Yes Daishi

I've been a 360 fanboy for years but they've lost me with all that pre-launch BS

Ozuzi
13th May, 2014 @ 07:24 pm PDT

I wonder why they stuck so long to requiring a Live Gold account just to use Netflix, when the PS3 and Wii never did?

How many XBox 360 sales were lost to Sony and Nintendo just for that reason?

Gregg Eshelman
14th May, 2014 @ 11:08 pm PDT

Why should I pay twice for a service? Both Netflix and Hulu require you to sign up and pay for their service. There are several reasons I have not bought a current gen Xbox and paying for services that I already pay for is one of them.

Doug Doyle
19th May, 2014 @ 12:43 am PDT
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