AfterDawn: Tech news

Should Microsoft have unbundled Kinect from Xbox One?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 14 May 2014 10:17 User comments (8)

Should Microsoft have unbundled Kinect from Xbox One? Xbox One will soon come without Kinect to compete in pricing with the PS4, but what does the decision mean for the future of Microsoft's console?
On the surface of it, offering a $100 cheaper Xbox One model to consumers is the right move for Microsoft. As it stands, Microsoft has shipped a couple of million less Xbox One units than Sony has confirmed sales for the PS4, which undoubtedly has Microsoft uneasy even at such an early stage.

A lower-cost console without Kinect will likely help Microsoft to claw back some ground on the PS4, but what does it mean for Microsoft's overall vision for Xbox One and the future of the console?

Bundling Kinect with Xbox One may have given Microsoft a $100 disadvantage in cost on the market, but it was the cost of Xbox One having something unique to it, and something that was present wherever there was an Xbox One console rather than an optional peripheral.

You just have to look at the initial reaction from developer Harmonix to Microsoft's announcement on Twitter to see that the news isn't necessarily good for all. Director of Publishing and PR at Harmonix, John Drake, sums it up in a few words.



Considering Harmonix is already developing Disney title Fantasia: Music Evolved for Xbox One, it has to be very disheartening news that not every Xbox One sold going forward is guaranteed to include Kinect. To be fair to Harmonix, the developer put out statements later that were more positive.

Pros and Cons for Consumers

For consumers, buying a console without Kinect also impacts gameplay to different degrees. Obviously, titles such as Xbox Fitness, Zumba Fitness, Fighter Within and Just Dance are entirely useless without Kinect, but there's also quite a lot more games that integrated Kinect to lesser degrees, like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Need for Speed: Rivals, Dead Rising 3 and many more.

Those games are still playable with a regular controller of course.

There is a potential upside to the lack of Kinect in gameplay too though, as it frees up system resources. Microsoft Executive Yusuf Mehdi already told Polygon that the company is talking to publishers about reassigning system resources to games.

"We are in discussions with our game publishers about what we might do in this space and we will have more to talk about soon," he told Polygon.

Yet another compromise

It would be fair to describe the history of Xbox One since its unveiling as a history of compromising on the part of Microsoft. Not long after announcing the Xbox One, Microsoft started taking fire or its requirement to check in online at least once every 24 hours, and tying games to an Xbox One user raised questions about the ability to play pre-owned games.

In June last year, Microsoft reversed both policies. While it was praised for doing so, the compromise also meant that consumers lost something too in the form of Family Sharing and Disc-Free Play features. The former could not be changed sufficiently in time for launch but it could show up again in some form in the future.

The departure of Dom Mattrick from Microsoft to take up position of CEO at Zynga is being touted as the core reason for the changes made to Kinect - as well as further changes that remove the paywall on a bunch of multimedia/streaming apps on Xbox Live - but when it comes down to it, Microsoft is seemingly responding to slower sales than its main rival and negative feedback from users and the press to improve the bottom line.

It just seems that Microsoft set out to provide something unique to Xbox One, something that would be prevalent throughout this console generation and potentially give it more of an edge in a few years time even at an initial cost in terms of slow sales, but through constant compromising has ended up with something that more resembles the Xbox 360, just with a better and more responsive dashboard, better apps and better looking gameplay.

Tags: Xbox One
Previous Next

Related news

 

8 user comments

114.5.2014 13:58

They should have just bit the bullet and lowered the price of the unit/w kinect to $399. Yes they would take a hit but they would then have a more attractive product for future sales. They are pretty much telling all the suckers that previously bought the kinect version that they were duped into thinking that the kinect was a necessary addon. This is not going to be the magic pill that they hope it will that will allow them to claw back into the race. And Sonys hardware is just better.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 May 2014 @ 13:58

214.5.2014 14:43

Quote:
They should have just bit the bullet and lowered the price of the unit/w kinect to $399. Yes they would take a hit but they would then have a more attractive product for future sales. They are pretty much telling all the suckers that previously bought the kinect version that they were duped into thinking that the kinect was a necessary addon. This is not going to be the magic pill that they hope it will that will allow them to claw back into the race. And Sonys hardware is just better.
Too much loss / console. Sure it's a great deal for consumers, but MS would lose too much / unit. There's not enough games to make up that margin loss and also with them changing XBL to no longer required to run Netflix and the other apps; it would have been foolish from a business standpoint to take your suggestion this early.

315.5.2014 2:06

LOL! So the idiots at Microsoft FINALLY were forced to abandon kinnect for a lower cost console? That is hilarious. And to all the idiots that thought you just HAD to have it, it is even more funny! Maybe this will make MS think twice before trying to shove things down consumers throats they do not want! Such as online only gaming...having to have kinnect hooked up all the time...or the idiotic idea of the new xbox one not playing used games....yes MS has really ticked people off with their stupid decisions. Now they are reaping their reward for it! Congrats Microsoft, you get the "Idiot of the year" award with win 8 and now XBox one!LOL!

416.5.2014 9:59

Yes. Their entire thought process on this console was 100% stupid. The fact that they were trying to FORCE an item onto consumers is just mindblowing. We (like myself) have other options like PS4, PC and Wii. The kinect didn't do well on the XB360 so you want to force us to take use shitty product on the XBO? How stupid are you? It should have always been a add-on there is absolutely no way it should be a required feature just to play a damn console. Let's not even get on the idiotic DRM. That there should have proved they needed to listen to consumers. Anyway I'll possibly get a XBO now that I don't need kinect and the price drop.


OH YES ... THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

516.5.2014 12:34

M$ has been forcing their product onto customers for years. They just thought they could do it in a new sphere too. I'm glad they failed, and have been forced to backpedal so much.

This is bad for the M$ ecosystem, and probably a mistake on their part. They've turned the Kinect into a gimmick, and removed much of the reason for a developer to design around it. They just created an unpredictable environment, and most sales will have to design around the lowest common denominator.

This isn't going to convince me to buy an XBone. Too much wrong too early on.

616.5.2014 21:55

Well this explains why they've been so quiet with all of their sales numbers; too embarrassed to post them. This does not look good MS. You've finally lost consumers confidence in you because you're to wishy washy and can't stick to a story...lol

716.5.2014 22:47

Tough crowd. People bitched about how they didnt want kinect and now when they unbundle it, people bitch about that.


Gigabyte 890FXA-UD5
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 5770
G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3 1333, Corsair 750TX PSU
10 TB Wes Dig. 64G Corsair SSD

817.5.2014 8:57

Originally posted by 8686:
Tough crowd. People bitched about how they didnt want kinect and now when they unbundle it, people bitch about that.
I don't think that this is people bitching. This is more like customer frustration with Microsoft. This is just people annoyed that Microsoft didn't listen to there main customer base... Hardcore gamers.... That never wanted a kinect, but Microsoft decided to shove it down everyone's throats. Well, the customers have spoken with their wallets and low and behold... Sony is selling twice as many PS4's as XBOX1s. The uproar could be people who bought and liked xbox in the past but this round bought a PS4 because they were cheaper.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive