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.

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    Shadow Dragon (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 8:46pm

    finally

    Finally,that was only reason why I didn't want to buy Xbox One.

     

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 11:55am

      Re: finally

      Not the only reason for me. Frankly, every new bit of news that comes out of both Sony and Microsoft just makes the Ouya look better and better...

       

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    Roger Strong (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 9:20pm

    Requiem for a Lackey

    No always-on, internet-connected camera in people's living rooms? Somewhere, James Clapper is crushing some lackey's throat and declaring "You Have Failed Me For The LAST Time."

    The same is happening over at the MPAA, which was no doubt counting on Microsoft's patent to use Kinect to count the viewers in the room and charge admission (or blank the screen) accordingly.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121105/21564420943/microsoft-patents-tv-that-watches -back-counts-heads-charges-admission.shtml

    And of course the same thing just happened at all management levels in Microsoft's X-Box division.

    Eventually lackey killing will replace zombie and alien killing in video games, and you'll need a Kinect to sense your reaching out to crush a throat. Thus the deaths of those lackeys will breath new life into Kinect. It's one of those circle of life things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2014 @ 9:58pm

    It is just such BS as what is listed in the article is one of the reasons I don't want a console, ever.

    I like a computer for gaming if I am going to game. I like more choices in the controls than 4 or 6 buttons will give. I like being able to modify the game with a fan's work, something I can't do with a console.

    If I don't want my gaming computer tied to the internet, guess what? It won't be. It will not matter who demands internet connection to play as I will not choose those games. Nor do companies like EA or Ubisoft get anything from me for much the same reason. I will not support those trying to screw the gamer just because we want more money. That part never stops.

    Microsoft long ago missed the boat with refusing to fix the red ring of death and I have never wanted one then and have no customer loyalty to them over a console today.

     

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    CK20XX (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:00pm

    Microsoft has worked REALLY hard to ensure that the Kinect is a no-win scenario for them. They bet everything they had on it and lost.

    Ironically, even this capitulating to consumer demand is ham-fisted and poorly thought out. Harmonix, who's been developing the Kinect game Fantasia: Music Evolved, now feels like it's been thrown under the bus, as does every other developer that was making a Kinect game under the assurance that it wouldn't become a throwaway peripheral. Despite the consumer pressure, Microsoft should have been cleverer and waited until those games were released, but instead it's trying to pretend it's the leader in this race, resulting in a disaster that feels like the Sega 32X all over again.

    I can’t help but notice that its entire mission to define a next-generation console has consisted of reversing all of its ambitions and instead doing everything Sony does. Who’s the one doing the defining, again?

     

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    James Jensen (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:07pm

    This has gotten petty.

    Seems to me the moral of the story is really that Microsoft learns from their mistakes when it comes to the Xbox: they backpedaled on all the really outrageous ideas they had for the One, they made sure the thing was well ventilated this time, and now they've even made the Kinect optional to cut the price.

    Isn't that a good thing?

    I'm a little biased, though. Sony removing OtherOS is a slap in the face I haven't fully forgiven. Even if I wasn't using it at the time, they made me choose between removing a feature I paid for (OtherOS) or give up other features I paid for (PSN, games made after the update).

     

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      CK20XX (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:19pm

      Re: This has gotten petty.

      The thing is, it wasn't a scenario where the public spoke and Microsoft listened. Instead it was more like the public screamed and Microsoft was forced to comply because mob justice is what it freaking takes to get anything done anymore.

       

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        That One Guy (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:44pm

        Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

        Forced to comply kicking and screaming the entire way at that, their tone pretty much the entire time has been 'Well we were going to offer all these 'awesome' features(that no one wanted), but if you're going to complain about how much you hate them then fine, we'll remove them so you can stop whining.'

        Basically they tried to tell their customers what they(the customers) wanted, and since they're not Apple, that didn't go over too well, so when the outcry hit, they adopted a pretty bitter tone over the whole thing.

         

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          Abara, May 14th, 2014 @ 5:39am

          Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

          They aren't "offering" any features, they are imposing constraint that no one wants and that, in this case, are unnecessary and costly.

           

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        PaulT (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 11:59pm

        Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

        "Instead it was more like the public screamed and Microsoft was forced to comply because mob justice is what it freaking takes to get anything done anymore"

        I disagree. they wouldn't have done a damn thing if it weren't for Sony. It wasn't the negative reaction to the One's initial announcement that made them change features, it was the fact that Sony used those reactions to get massive positive feedback to the PS4's announcement.

        Similarly, here it's not consumer demand that's driven these decisions, it's the performance against the PS4. They want to spin it as them listening to demand, but in reality they're just looking at why people are choosing their competition ("hmmm, apparently people like the console where they're not spied on and forced to pay twice for their media, maybe we should stop doing that..."). If the PS4 was performing like the Wii U, or simply didn't exist at all, Microsoft wouldn't be changing anything.

        This is how things should be in an open marketplace, not something Microsoft should be applauded for because they happen to have a market with some real competition.

         

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          CK20XX (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:30am

          Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

          Good points, though I wonder... would Microsoft really have done nothing if it weren't for Sony? Look at how Windows 8 has disappointed over the last year or so and Microsoft has been forced to modify it into what people want because their customers refused to upgrade instead of flocking to other operating systems.

           

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            PaulT (profile), May 14th, 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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          Colin, May 14th, 2014 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

          Similarly, here it's not consumer demand that's driven these decisions, it's the performance against the PS4.

          Isn't that kind of the same thing? Consumers made their choice against Microsoft's policies by choosing PS4 (whether in principle or because those policies caused an unnecessary price hike in the product).

           

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2014 @ 10:24pm

      Re: This has gotten petty.

      Learning from your mistakes is one thing - but are they really learning if they keep making them over and over and over?

      It would be one thing if this was Microsoft's first console offering... or if they were a relatively new startup without a proper market research department. But given their repeat fiascos in the recent years (failed Surface RT, terrible Windows Vista, horrible user experience with Windows 8.x, lackluster Windows Phone device sales, and the repeated mistakes with Xbox One), one has to wonder WTF.

      Microsoft should be better than this - they should have a very keen sense of exactly what their customers want. They have lost their edge, they have become lazy and think they can tell their customers what they want. They're finding out this isn't the case. Unless they turn things around, they're gonna start really losing customers.

       

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        James Jensen (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:47pm

        Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

        I agree Microsoft has gotten rather arrogant in recent decades but I don't think that overall arrogance detracts from my point: in at least one part of their business, they're actually starting to listen.

         

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          CK20XX (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

          I hope so, but they still seem to be acting begrudgingly, and from what I understand Microsoft's corporate culture is one that resents having to explain why their latest ground-breaking invention is actually ground-breaking. That alone probably means it will take several years to turn their ship around.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 1:23am

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

            In the end, it won't matter. They'll cave in (as they did here), they'll spin, they'll lie, they'll change, and it will work.

            Why? Because gamers are stupid. Exhibit A: EA is still in business. Exhibit B: Sony is still selling game systems despite a history of embedding malware in its products. Exhibit C: games with DRM continue to sell despite the fact that everyone who's been paying attention knows how that story inevitably ends.

            Gamers are stupid enough to fall for Microsoft's bullshit, just like they've fallen for Sony's, just like they've fallen for EA's, just like they've fallen for everyones'. So in the long run, it doesn't matter: they're going to get ripped off, it's just a question of who will be doing it.

             

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              That One Guy (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:56am

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

              Not all gamers, but unfortunately I have to agree, far too many are complete, brainless sheep when it comes to picking up games/systems, not caring how the companies treat them as long as they can enjoy the 'newest' repackaged FPS/Sports game('Now with new, updated textures, and nothing else!').

              However, it's worth pointing out that this is hardly a 'gamer'-centric issue, as the same boneheaded, stupid 'loyalty' is found in people who go to the movies without fail, no matter how much crap is pushed out or how much Hollywood tries to screw over the public with bought laws, as well as those that continue to purchase the next 'big hit' CD/songs, despite how full of contempt the major music industry has shown towards the public and even the musicians signed with them.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 4:10am

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

                You're absolutely right. Take movies, for example: people rail about the MPAA, about censorship, about DMCA abuse, about "three strikes" or "six strikes" or whatever it is this week, and then...they go to the movies, directly financially supporting the MPAA. Duh.

                So yes, the problem is more widespread than merely gamers, and the problem is that people are unwilling even to make the petty sacrifices required to effect change. This isn't standing on a picket line in the rain for 17 hours or something onerous: it's NOT going to a movie or NOT buying a game or something trivial and easy. But even that tiny, insignificant bit of (in)action is beyond the capacity of many, who can't wait to see whatever pure shit Michael Bay has cranked out or to play whatever shoot-em-up is just like all the other shoot-em-ups.

                I don't game. I don't go to the movies. And I only buy music directly from artists, so that 100% of the money (modulo their sunk production costs) goes to them. I don't support the MPAA or the RIAA. I won't buy Sony or Microsoft or EA products, period, and I have banned them from purchase at my workplace. But I'm just one guy, and so that won't do much unless 10M other people do the same things. Which they won't, because they're stupid.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 7:50am

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

                stupid 'loyalty' is found in people who go to the movies without fail, no matter how much crap is pushed out or how much Hollywood tries to screw over the public with bought laws


                Most people aren't really aware of the copyright issues the movie industry has a hand in and the DRM the movie industry uses isn't nearly as apparent and inconvenient as the invasion DRM used by the video game industry.

                 

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      PaulT (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 11:48pm

      Re: This has gotten petty.

      Petty? No. They've been forced to listen to their customer base by simple market forces, and finally offered their own customers what they've been asking for since before the console was announced - and in the case of not being forced to pay twice for media apps, something demanded by consumers for years last gen as well.

      Noting that this is not something to be applauded but rather expected is not petty, and neither is noting correctly that they're trying to cloak the decision in marketing doublespeak rather than admit they made mistakes in the first place. You're also fooling yourself if you think they "learned" something rather than temporarily backtracking until market forces allow them to implement these things again.

      "I'm a little biased, though. Sony removing OtherOS is a slap in the face I haven't fully forgiven."

      You're biased towards one company that's been openly trying to rip you off because their competitor did the same in the past?

      I have no particular horse in this race yet (I own all the last gen consoles and I learned the hard way not to early adopt with a new generation - I'll wait at least 18 months if I adopt at all), but that really doesn't make sense to me. It's possible to realise that both companies have been doing a poor job recently, although I do think that Sony have been doing a far better job in the years since the OtherOS debacle.

       

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        James Jensen (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re: This has gotten petty.

        You're biased towards one company that's been openly trying to rip you off because their competitor did the same in the past?

        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?

        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.

         

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          PaulT (profile), May 14th, 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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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 10:09pm

    It's kinda funny. The Kinect is an amazing bit of technology far ahead of it's competitors, but in totally the wrong market. Outside of gaming, the Kinect is being used in amazing ways. If Microsoft just sold that and had a really solid API for Windows and Linux that people could freely use, I think it would be popular.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2014 @ 10:26pm

      Re:

      But they don't want to sell low-margin hardware, they want to sell software licenses where they can almost literally print $20 bills for a few cents each.

       

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      Mikael (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      Here's one such example.
      http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/14/oculus-rift-three-way-kinect-3d-video

      The guy said his virtual representation isn't that great because he was using first gen kinects, but it would be MUCH better if he was using the current gen.

       

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      The Kinect is an amazing bit of technology far ahead of it's competitors


      [citation needed]

      Last I heard, the Kinect was still a gimmicky toy that is essentially useless if you don't have a living room approximately the size of an aircraft hangar, because there are serious technical issues with discerning depth up close that they haven't been able to work out yet. Nothing amazing about that.

       

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    James T, May 13th, 2014 @ 11:21pm

    Drunk on the punch

    I feel that Microsoft and it's executives are drunk on the lock in. Most people didn't see it back in the day. It's finally crystal clear to many consumers and that's very bad for business. Microsoft tried to kill "The Goose that laid the Golden Eggs"

    The question is can they backtrack quick enough? Unfortunately I see no hope for the executives. Microsoft needs some fresh attitudes at the executive level.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 11:25am

      Re: Drunk on the punch

      Yeah that describes Microsoft pretty well. They went mad with monopoly power and think their demands are the ones that matter and not what the customer wants.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 12:05am

    the PS4 is still a better value at the same price. Xbox One can't even run games in 1080p. What kind of "next-gen" console is that? Their big mistake was trying to make it an expensive set top box first, and a console second. Now it won't be either.

     

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      James Jensen (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Resolution is just about the least important measure graphically. The difference between 1080p and 720p/900p is just not that significant.

       

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        ChrisB (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        As someone who has a 75" TV, I believe it matters. That is a 50% increase in pixel density.

        But even if it doesn't matter now, it will matter in a few years, when big TV's are cheaper.

         

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          James Jensen (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, yes, on that size TV I'd agree. I personally have a 42" and really don't see myself ever getting one larger than the 55" my folks got. On those and from a comfortable viewing distance the difference is much less noticeable.

           

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          G Thompson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 9:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And just how far away are you from the TV to actually see it all compared to a standard 42 or 50inch model? If you are the same distance then your eyeball movement is A LOT MORE and is stressful on your muscles.


          This is why 4K (UHD) Systems in non-commercial settings are absolutely useless since to really get the benefit you need a minimum of 100inch screen and be sitting at minimum 15-20 feet (or more) away from them too.

          Basically 4K is great, though the human eye is physically restrained to see the difference!


          Therefore no matter how you punt it the difference between 720p & 1080p is miniscule for the average home user. And between 900p and 1080p is so miniscule to be non existent and undetectable.

          Though I'm not saying the PS4 is better or worse (IMO personally and professionally the PS4 and XB1 are basically nearly the same as each other).

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), May 15th, 2014 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "it will matter in a few years, when big TV's are cheaper."

          I'm not sure it will matter then. Cost is only one of the reasons that more people don't buy enormous TVs. Another major reason is that then they have a fucking enormous TV to deal with. Most people don't have a place to put such a beast. Also, I contend, most people don't want to have a room that is dominated by a television unless that room is a dedicated home theater.

           

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      the PS4 is still a better value at the same price. Xbox One can't even run games in 1080p. What kind of "next-gen" console is that?


      If you want to play console games in 1080p, you could get a PS4 ($400 and up,) or... an Ouya, for under $100.

      As I've said before, all the news coming out of both Sony and Microsoft about the latest generation just serves to make the Ouya look better and better.

       

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    cantor (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:25am

    Well...

    better late than never, but I still don't know if that move will make a big difference at that point...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 3:19am

    I don't understand.

    This is the second time that MS has caved on their plans for the XboxOne, giving in to consumer demand.And while some of what they were doing was misguided, but then they turned around and fixed it.

    I don't know how many people have worked in a large company, but taking a flagship product and selling it without a major bundled accessory within six months of launch is not an easy task. You have to produce or repackage all new hardware. You have to figure out what to do, and then do, with all of those spare Kinects. And hardest of all, you have to give up on your vision of a product you thought was truly innovative.

    I know the fanboys are out in full, but let me point something out.

    I'm a medium level gamer. I like to game, but I don't really want to put the time and effort into purchasing a gaming PC. I want to buy a console that just works, looks good, and won't need upgrading for 8-10 years. So I bought a console, just like millions of other people.

    Is it perfect? Nah. But it plays games, lets me stream, and honestly, I love the Kinect. Doing dishes and watching TV? The voice commands are awesome. Say what you will but getting together with my nongamer friends and playing a game like Dance Central or Kinect Sports is a blast for everyone (you'd be surprised how many people aren't familiar/comfortable with a controller).

    And the first time I did something awesome in a game and didn't have to put down the controller, or even pause the game to record it?

    That's pretty freaking cool.

    The One clearly rubs people the wrong way. But Microsoft didn't build it so the government could spy on you. They did it because its unique, and innovative, way to interact with your console.

     

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      JMT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 3:56am

      Re:

      None of the "pretty freaking cool" things you like about Kinect are good enough reasons to not offer your customers the choice to not have to pay for something they don't want. I have no interest in any of Kinect's features, and if I'd bought an Xbox One it'd still be in the box. Why should I have to pay for that?

      I'd call this a smart decision by Microsoft, but really it's just reversing a dumb decision.

       

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      PaulT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 4:49am

      Re:

      "taking a flagship product and selling it without a major bundled accessory within six months of launch is not an easy task."

      Then, perhaps they should have checked to see if the demand was there for the accessory to begin with? Opposition to the device being made mandatory was pretty clear long before it was announced.

      It should have been obvious that lots of people didn't want an accessory that could neither be removed from the console or even the internet. Had they listened, they could have avoided both the embarrassing turnarounds and the costs involved with doing so.

      The writing was on the wall long before the device was announced, but they chose to try and impose what they preferred onto their customers rather than actually listening to what customers wanted. As with the decision to force a touch interface on to Windows users who did not possess such a device, they made a bad decision that ignored peoples' actual needs and are now paying the price. Stop feeling sorry for them - they failed.

      "I love the Kinect."

      Good for you. I think it's OK, although I admittedly haven't used the new one. The old one showed promise, but some limitations have caused it not to be turned on for months in my house.

      Many hate it. Someone who hates it doesn't want it to be connected to their XBox, and sure as hell doesn't want to have to pay an additional $100 for it. Those people sure as hell don't care that MS now have to swallow that unneeded cost.

      Again, if you like it, that's great. But many gamers don't agree with you. Enough for MS to make yet another costly and embarrassing about-turn to try and get them back.

      "They did it because its unique, and innovative, way to interact with your console."

      ...and many gamers just want to use a gamepad.

      I can see your points, but many people have jumped from a 360 they were perfectly happy with to the PS4 rather than the XBox One for exactly these reasons.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 6:30am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, but MS clearly had a vision as the Kinect as part of the console . By selling the One without the Kinect, it makes it harder for developers to justify creating content for the Kinect.

        Misguided business decision? Probably. But as someone who likes the Kinect (I bought the first one. IF you've never used it, trust me, is come a long way for just a second iteration) I'd love to see where the tech will go

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 7:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is the biggest problem with this decision. On the one hand I have heard it wasn't good enough at what it did to make everyone want it, on the other hand unless 100% of systems have it developers won't bother supporting it in any meaningful way. Adding Kinect support was probably fairly far down the list of features to include on any cross platform game, now the only reason to touch that API is if you are going to be Xbox exclusive or to include voice control as that is at least partially available on the PS4 as well.

          If you are developing a game for realse around Xmas do you target the ~10 million people that will probably own an XBone or the ~8 million that have an XBone and Kinect? keep in mind you will have to spend somewhat more if you are going to support the Kinect and it will be harder to port to the PS4 to have access to the ~12-~15 million players on that system.

           

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 7:12am

      Re:

      The problem with Microsoft's decision to make the Kinect an inseperable part of the console is exact the same as the problems with Windows 8: unbridled, cold arrogance.

      In both cases, Microsoft was told loudly and clearly that they were doing something their customer hated well before the product development was complete. But what the customer wanted didn't factor into Microsoft's plans. Microsoft had their own vision of what they wanted to do and figured there was no problem in simply doing it regardless of what the market wanted.

      In both cases, they got burned and are backpedalling as quickly as they can. This isn't a case of what's good tech or what's bad tech -- this is a case of Microsoft thinking they're so powerful that they can simply ignore their customers.

      This is a problem with corporate culture from top to bottom. Even at the developer level: look at all the public commentary made by various devs on both team that essentially said that the public was too stupid to see that what they were doing was awesome and once released, everyone will change their tune.

      Pure arrogance.

       

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        PaulT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re:

        I fondly remember a Microsoft representative mocking people for not living in a major city with guaranteed broadband connections when people criticised the inability to use the console offline. IIRC, the same guy was also telling people to buy a 360 if they didn't like it, neither realising that not only would this attitude not get Microsoft any sales, but that most of the people complaining until that point were already loyal 360 owners.

        To me, that's all you need to know about their culture, and I've not seen any signs that it's changed other than going "crap, this is actually losing us sales" after the fact.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 9:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yup. Although I'd rephrase your sentiment "I've not seen any signs that it's changed" as "Every sign I've seen is that this remains the culture".

          The level of disdain various people in Microsoft -- especially devs -- have overtly expressed for their customers is absolutely incredible. Most nefarious multinational at least pretend that they value their customers. Microsoft doesn't even feel the need to engage in that much posturing.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 5:13am

    Microsoft blew it on Xbone the minute their marketing idiots chose 'Xbox One' as a name for it. That's why I and plenty of others refuse to call it anything but Xbone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 5:48am

    Too late already...

    Because of the poor performance & hacks of the PlayStation Network, Sony Other OS, and the BS at Microsoft in general I will not be purchasing another console of any kind.

    If you are still buying consoles then you are already sipping on the cool aid. They are closed environments & hardware that you do NOT OWN! They can brick your shit for a TOS violation and short of court you can't do anything about it.

    MS & content producers make it clear they do not want you to own anything they produce. License everything is the mantra, even the damn hardware.

    Thank you for buying this game... wanna play it? O yea... you need Xbone Live, even if you are playing single player. And don't say this is just the developers, these companies constantly lobby devs for exclusives and deals so that you can only play games they think are big deals on a single console.

    Any Dev serious about their games/profits, and not keel hauled by a producer of the likes of EA or MS, will resist this stupidity.

    Sure you can mass bully them and maybe even win, but you keep buying their product you are just funding the next round of the bully against you and eventually they are going to win, because history proves it.

     

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    Adam (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    What ridiculous commentary.

    Hard to say Sony is "trouncing" Microsoft. Yea, Sony sold 30% more consoles but MS was charging 25% more. So in $, MS isn't "trounced" by any means. I find it funny that Sonys mis-steps are lauded as good deeds while MS's are laughed at.

    We all know that if MS's original DRM was successful then every maker out there would have jumped on that wagon and rode it all the way to the bank...

    Additionally, now that the XBOne and PS4 will be setting on the shelf at the same price point... that barrier to consumers has been removed as one of the choice options. Let's see if another 6 months shows Sony as such a "trouncer".

     

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      PaulT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:36am

      Re: What ridiculous commentary.

      "Yea, Sony sold 30% more consoles but MS was charging 25% more"

      So? What was the profit margin? Many of these consoles are made to lose money on first release, hoping to recoup costs (IIRC, the Wii was unique last gen because it was the only one that made money out of the box). MS could still be losing more on every console produced, unless you have figures to prove otherwise.

      "I find it funny that Sonys mis-steps are lauded as good deeds while MS's are laughed at."

      Because they deserve to be laughed at for the idiotic steps they've taken. Which mis-steps have Sony been making this gen that have been lauded, and how do they compare to these?

      "We all know that if MS's original DRM was successful then every maker out there would have jumped on that wagon and rode it all the way to the bank"

      Which is why people like me opposed them and vowed not to buy any console with such DRM present. That seems to be working so far.

       

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        Abara, May 14th, 2014 @ 6:46am

        Re: Re: What ridiculous commentary.

        Besides they probably allready have produced a ton of kinect that won't sold, for which they will never recoup the cost and that will probably be found in a landfill in a New Mexico Desert in about 31 year...

         

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      James Jensen (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:47am

      Re: What ridiculous commentary.

      I wouldn't say Sony's misdeeds are lauded but they're certainly ignored. I keep thinking that had Sony tried what Microsoft wanted to do they'd have gotten away with it.

       

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        PaulT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 7:08am

        Re: Re: What ridiculous commentary.

        I'll repeat the question I asked to the OP - what misdeeds of Sony's have been lauded?

        Genuine question. I can't think of anything significant they've done wrong since the PS4 announcement. Even if they did and it was overshadowed by Microsoft's failures, I can't think of anything actually being applauded.

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re: What ridiculous commentary.

        "I wouldn't say Sony's misdeeds are lauded but they're certainly ignored"

        I don't see that at all. It looks to me that every time Sony has done something nefarious, it has raised a hue and cry across the land equal to anything Microsoft has received for their misdeeds.

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 11:31am

      Re: What ridiculous commentary.

      "Sony sold 30% more consoles but MS was charging 25% more."

      Sony's lead is actually greater than 30%. Sony's numbers are the actual units sold to consumers. Microsoft's are the numbers placed into the channel, not the number actually purchased by consumers. It's an apples-and-oranges comparison.

       

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        G Thompson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 9:40pm

        Re: Re: What ridiculous commentary.

        Also that 30% is only for the USA market.

        The EU/Oceania market is a LOT LOT higher than 30%, in fact some analysts think its around 80% or higher

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Lets not pretend that sony is any better. They constantly lie about the performance of the PS.
    From "the cell" to watchdogs...

    mobile gaming will put an end to this "console war" thing.

     

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      JMT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:16pm

      Re:

      "mobile gaming will put an end to this "console war" thing."

      Being able to play games anywhere on a small screen is great, but it'll never replace sitting in front a of a big TV with a big sound system, maybe with a steering wheel in your hands.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2014 @ 10:27am

    I'll pass on the Xbone. I might have considered buying a PS4, but now Sony requires a monthly fee in order to play games online. So I'll pass on PS4 too.

     

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      G Thompson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 9:42pm

      Re:

      Just to be correct, Microsoft ALWAYS required a monthly fee to play online. Sony only just recently required it for PS4 though the amount payed for the access is very much compensated for via the Free AAA+ games (and huge amount of Indy games) that that access allows you to download Gratis!

       

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    TimothyAWiseman (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Better late than never

    I have to strongly disagree with two things from this article. First, responding to customer demands is not caving. Second, correcting insanity is something to be lauded.

    Now, Mr. Geigner is quite right to say that these are things that MS should have done a long time ago, but it makes no sense to fault them for finally listening to their customers.

     

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      James Jensen (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Better late than never

      +1

      Exactly the point I was trying to make, made much more succinctly.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

      Re: Better late than never

      "Caving" is a hyperbolic, but not incorrect, way of characterizing it. Microsoft spent a lot of time and energy telling us, at length, how the Kinect was absolutely essential to the One and their vision of it, and calling people who had a problem with the Kinect all kinds of unsavory names.

      Personally, I'm not faulting them for backing down on the Kinect thing at all. I'm faulting them for being such huge assholes.

       

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      JMT (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 6:20pm

      Re: Better late than never

      "First, responding to customer demands is not caving."

      "We won't do it! We won't do it! We won't do it! We won't do it! OK, we'll do it..."

      That's caving.

      "Second, correcting insanity is something to be lauded."

      Making good decisions in the first place is something to be lauded. Correcting dumb decisions after first spending many months telling us we were all wrong is not.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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