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

Reader Comments

The First Word

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 May 2014 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

    "I had fully planned to never get an Xbox One given the "features" they were going to include. Then they went back on everything. How is continuing to punish them going to help?"

    Well, I certainly wouldn't trust them not to try and push some of those features in again through the back door. Besides, I wouldn't be interested in "helping" them, only in ensuring that I get the right device as a consumer. I don't have to pick sides and "neither" is also a valid response. You don't have to pick a side if both are bad.

    "Furthermore, Microsoft at least announced its plans before the console ever came out. You would have known what you were getting into before ever buying it. Sony sold me a system and then took a feature away from it afterward."

    This is a valid point, but only tells part of the story. It's very unlikely that Sony had planned to remove OtherOS from the beginning, but rather that they removed it when they later considered it far less important than making other changes to its own OS and business tactics. They were wrong, and paid the price.

    But, here's the thing - both consoles update on a regular basis. The updates are, I believe, required to use online features at minimum. There's absolutely nothing to stop either company removing features at any time, especially if they decide that their own commercial interests override your preferences as a consumer.

    Just because MS hasn't done this in the past is no reason to trust them now. Hell, you could make an argument that anyone who paid for Gold for the media functions who has no interest in online gaming has had this happen now (I may have missed it, but I don't recall seeing refunds offered for people who only paid for Gold to use Netflix now that it's no longer necessary).

    Personally, I hope you're right and neither company does that sort of thing in the future. I'll be back in the market for one if we make it to this time next year without a major anti-consumer screw-up. But I wouldn't trust Microsoft to just do the right thing at this point, any more than you trust Sony.

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