Xbox One Caves Again: Console Will Now Be Offered Sans Kinect

from the customers-rule dept

It's been a relatively tough road for Microsoft's Xbox One, even as it's early in the console's life. You should recall that the console was initially designed to require some degree of online connectivity to work; a plan that was subsequently walked back after consumers revolted. It was the same for proposed limitations on used games, which caused similar outrage. The console was also supposed to not be fully operational without the bundled Kinect engaged, but that plan was also scrapped because customers hated the idea. Left in place were consumers questioning why they had to pay for the Kinect device at all, given the paltry sum of games that actually utilized it.

Well, the trend continues, now that Microsoft has announced in an absolutely tone-deaf blog post that there will now be an Xbox One offering that comes sans Kinect. The post, laughably, is entitled "Delivering More Choices for Fans."
Today, we're excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build. First, beginning on June 9th, in all markets where Xbox One is sold, we will offer Xbox One starting at $399*. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect. For $399, our new Xbox One offering will continue to deliver access to the best blockbuster games like "Titanfall," "Call of Duty: Ghosts," "Forza Motorsport 5," "Dead Rising 3," and the upcoming "Watch Dogs," "Destiny" and "Sunset Overdrive." You will also be able to access popular entertainment apps, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide. Finally, you will continue to be able to use many of the unique features of Xbox One including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload your favorite gaming moments. Next, we're bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold members and offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership.
Let's deal with these in order. The demand for a console that comes without the bundled Kinect device has been around since, oh I don't know, before the console was even released. To pretend that Microsoft is now benevolently bending to the will of consumers makes it sound like they haven't been aware of the demand until recently. That's not true. They're actually bending to consumer will of another form, the resulting trouncing of their console by Sony's Playstation, which has a better record (for this generation, at least) of actually delivering to consumers what they want. Relatively speaking, they're getting their asses kicked, and now they're scrambling to try to appease potential customers.

As for Microsoft finally releasing their entertainment apps to folks who aren't paying for the Xbox Live Gold membership, this isn't so much Microsoft giving their customers something for free as it is finally not requiring them to pay for the same thing twice. For instance, previously, if you had a Netflix account, you had to pay for that account and an Xbox Live Gold membership in order to use Netflix on your console. That's insane. Correcting insanity isn't something to be lauded.

Filed Under: kinect, listening to consumers, xbox
Companies: microsoft

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The First Word

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 May 2014 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

    "Microsoft has been forced to modify it into what people want because their customers refused to upgrade instead of flocking to other operating systems"

    I think what needs to be considered there is that the markets are totally different. Consoles are an all-or-nothing prospect. The current offering from MS and Sony aren't backward compatible, so most people are coming to them from pretty much a clean slate. While they stay on their old consoles, MS still gets income from most 360 users, so it's the "defection" from Live Gold to a PS+ subscription that's most critical.

    But the OS marketplace is much more complicated right now. It's true that on the desktop market, MS are only really competing with themselves, with the major issue being whether or not people were convinced to upgrade to Windows 8. The failure to offer a compelling product is a major part of the reason they decided to address complaints with the 8.1 release (if it had met expectations, those changes probably wouldn't have been made).

    However, you do have to consider the marketplace as a whole. While MS still dominate the desktop marketplace, that market is also shrinking. Not only have people been choosing laptops over desktops, but they've recently been moving much more toward tablets and smartphones than laptops. MS also don't get income from users of older systems like they do with console subscriptions. Windows 8 was meant to be a way to unify these marketplaces and build a strong brand across all platforms. But, they messed up, placed too much on a single gamble (that people would buy touch-capable devices at much higher rates) which negatively affected their OS sales while failing to achieve what it wanted on the mobile platforms.

    So, it really was still competition that forced their changes - losing sales to Android and iOS devices while failing to sell desktop OS upgrades. That with the latter they were only really competing with existing copies of their own product is only part of the story.

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