There’s nothing like E3 week to stoke the fires of inter-console warfare, and this year’s expo saw the Xbox One and PS4 once again going head-to-head to compete for the attentions of gamers who still haven’t decided where their loyalties will lie for this generation. The event was also an opportunity for Microsoft to relaunch the Xbox One in the wake of all the changes that the console has undergone over the past year or so.
Among the biggest changes was the decision to make the Xbox One available for $100 less sans the Kinect, which had formerly been bundled with the console as part of its $499 price tag. The new price of $399 puts the Xbox One on the same level as the PS4, but in the months since the two consoles launched Sony has already gained a considerable edge over the competition.
Since making the Kinect optional Microsoft has seen increased demand for the Xbox One which may well help it catch up to the PS4 over the next year. Reflecting on the original announcement of the Xbox One’s $499 price tag in an interview with Ars Technica, Sony Head of Worldwide Studios America Scott Rohde wasn’t shy about admitting that Sony had been pretty gleeful about the news.
“I’m not gonna lie. I remember exactly where I was. We were in press conference rehearsals last year. We had a feeling they were going to come in at $499, but we weren’t sure. So yeah, we were dancing in the aisles and high-fiving. It was great. Anyone that came in on an interview, it didn’t matter what the question was, I could always just answer it with $399. It was the answer to every question.”
The price tags for each console marked quote a turnaround, since during the last generation the PS3 was more expensive than the Xbox 360. Rohde said that this, alongside the PS3 being released a year after the Xbox 360, was in part due to Sony’s complacency following the dominance of the PS2 over the original Xbox. Since then Sony has learned just how important a price difference can make, so what does Rohde think of the decision to release a Kinect-less Xbox One?
“I think that, to be truthful, we always assumed that eventually they’d have to release a SKU without a camera. So we were waiting for it to a degree, and we were ready for it.”
While Microsoft’s decision to make the Kinect optional might result in more sales of the console, it won’t be without consequences. Whereas previously any developer making games for the Xbox One could safely assume that all players would have access to the technology, now releasing an Xbox One game that requires the Kinect means limiting sales to only the people who bought the full bundle. With that in mind, we expect to see a reduction in the number of games being developed specifically for use with the Kinect.
Do you think Microsoft’s decision to sell a $399 Xbox One without the Kinect was wise, or should the company have stuck to its original plan?
Source: Ars Technica