After months of feedback and news that Sony has already sold a whopping 7 million PlayStation 4 units, Microsoft finally confirmed that it would be dropping the Kinect as a mandatory peripheral for its Xbox One. While this came as no surprise to those that have been following the company’s initial missteps with the platform, the new SKU (and resulting price drop) does show promise that the Xbox 360’s successor can remain relevant in the marketplace.
Many gaming aficionados claimed that Microsoft’s decision to drop the necessity of Kinect equates to the company turning its back on developers, but Microsoft’s European Studios boss Phil Harrison seems to believe that this decision will work out better for devs and consumers.
During a recent interview with OXM, Harrison let fans in on Microsoft’s line of thought when it opted to release a Kinect-less Xbox One bundle. According to the head, making the new Xbox more affordable will stimulate the entire console’s “ecosystem” and will result in more games being made thanks to the larger install base.
“Last week we made a very significant announcement about giving gamers a choice, a choice about how they want to enter the Xbox One ecosystem, by offering them a version of Xbox One both with and without Kinect. And fundamentally that is good for opening up the Xbox One ecosystem — the more consumers who buy Xbox One, it’s a virtuous cycle for more developers to make and more consumers to play games, and that is what we’re committed to achieving and continuing.”
Despite dropping the Kinect as a mandatory part of the hardware, Harrison was quick to say that Microsoft still has big plans for the peripheral. The house of Bill Gates is even branding the camera as a way for users to gain access to a premium experience on the Xbox One, so the company still seems to think highly of the device.
“But we remain committed to Kinect as the premium way to experience the Xbox One vision. Over 80 per cent of Kinect Xbox Ones are active, over 120 voice commands are issued per day on average by all users of the console, so when you have this premium experience that is where the Xbox One comes alive.”
Removing the Kinect as a mandatory add-on for the Xbox One makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, but the decision to make this move couldn’t have come lightly. The end result, however, is that gamers can now purchase Microsoft’s new console for $399, which puts it on par with its competition in the United States. Looking at the lineup of games en route for the hardware, it looks like mass market success could only be a few months away — although E3 2014 should give gamers a better look at what’s on the horizon.
Do you believe making Kinect optional is best for the Xbox One? Are you more intrigued by the console now that it’s $100 cheaper?
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.