Microsoft dropped what is undoubtedly their biggest policy change thus far regarding their next gen console, and a few details about changes to other programs such as Games with Gold today. The much touted "must-have" Kinect for the Xbox One will not be required in the consoles next sku, which ships June 9 for $399 a reduction from the $499 price with Kinect.
Phil Spencer, recently appointed head of Xbox, announced via Xbox.com today a few huge changes to the landscape of the Xbox One and skus available, as well as leveling the playing field with the sales juggernaut that is the Playstation 4. According to the post, consumers can pick up the Xbox One sans Kinect, with the option to purchase a standalone Kinect down the road. Spencer posted,
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.
This news comes following much criticism, and calls to drop the Kinect from figureheads like Michael Pachter, it appears that Microsoft is truly listening to the fans and responding to the rampant criticisms regarding the motion and voice control peripheral included in every Xbox One to this point. Pachter has not been shy of his criticism for the Kinect and it's potential negative impact if it stays as a necessary purchase with each Xbox One. Pachter also has been quoted as saying Microsoft would face a significant struggle if Sony ever reduced price on the PS4 to $349.
"I think that in 2015, you might see a $349 PS4, and an uncoupled Xbox One," Pachter said, "and if you see both of those for $349, the consumer wins, and they will both sell very well. Microsoft is not looking to lose this cycle."