When Microsoft launched the Xbox One almost two years ago, the media giant included the Kinect with every console sold. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that caused the Xbox One to cost $100 more than its primary competitor, the PlayStation 4, which in turn allowed the Sony console to grab and hold the crown for highest sales for over a year.
In fact, it wasn’t until Microsoft dropped the price of the Xbox One and offered Kinect-free units over the holidays that Xbox One outsold PS4. Since that time, Xbox has held strong, beating PS4 a few more times, including most recently in April.
The success of Xbox One without the Kinect has caused many gamers to wonder if Microsoft is planning to drop the peripheral addition altogether. Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded to those concerns in a recent interview with GamesRadar, where he revealed that Microsoft is not abandoning the Kinect.
“It’s not abandoned. We just developed Upload Studio 2.0, which has green screening that you can do with Kinect. We’ll continue to build functionality to make it a valuable part of the ecosystem. That said, price point’s really important for the console – we saw that over the holidays in the UK and US, where we did well when we dropped the price, which was great. And I want to make sure consumers have choice on how much they value the functionality of Kinect when they buy a console. If you want to go buy a Kinect console [bundle], then they’re still available.”
However, Spencer did mention that it’ll be up to developers and consumers to make the most of the Kinect. Microsoft will continue pushing for more functionality, but the future of the device is really in the hands of consumers.
“[Kinect’s] place will be earned through the experiences that are out there and the developers that show interest. We will continue to build functionality through voice and using the RGB and depth cameras, and we’ll stay focused on that, but giving the consumers choice is pretty critical.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft evolves the Kinect over time. It seems most developers right now are still focused on providing controller-driven games, with only a couple developers creating party or family style games that use the Kinect. But as more functionality becomes available and as other peripheral devices hit the scene, like HoloLens, we may see big developers take another stab at incorporating the Kinect into their games.
What do you think about Phil Spencer’s comments about the Kinect? Do you think Microsoft should drop it entirely, or is there still life in the device? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.