Microsoft keeps up with Sony PlayStation 4, removes Kinect bundle and Xbox Live Gold paywall
Gamers worldwide can stop holding their breaths: it seems that the console wars have already found their victor. Sleek, sensational, and selling over 7 million copies worldwide, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has no doubt surpassed the sales mark compared to its longtime competitor. Microsoft’s Xbox One is lagging behind with an initial 600,000 units sold per month at the start of the year as opposed to the PS4’s 1.1 million, but this gap is still not the deciding blow that has seemingly ended the war. What has sealed Microsoft’s defeat is its announcement just yesterday that it will begin selling the Xbox One without Kinect beginning this June, all so that it can compete with the price of the PS4.
The Xbox One has long been marketed as an inseparable companion for the Kinect, and its sudden announcement to split the package only proves further that it is trying to reach price parity with the PS4. The Xbox One will be sold without Kinect for $400 this June, the same retail price as Sony’s runaway success console. Microsoft is taking this step because according to them, they wish to give more options to their gamers, hence, the Xbox One without Kinect. Their statement, though, still keeps Kinect in the loop by saying, “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision.”
Another seemingly white flag for Microsoft is its decision to discontinue the Xbox Live Gold paywall for YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other online services. In a move to keep up with Sony’s popularity, Microsoft has foregone the monthly subscription services and opted instead to offer free games and discounts for the Xbox Live Gold.
What does this mean for Microsoft? With all these changes, they aim to bridge the gap between the Xbox One and the PS4 with fingers crossed. The end of 2013 saw a wide margin between sales with the PS4 leading with a full 1.3 million ahead of the Xbox One. By the start of 2014, the Xbox One has shipped a measly 3.9 million units to retailers, and it’s not looking too good.
Still, the futures of both Sony and Microsoft when it comes to console gaming are far from over. With the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 or E3 coming up this June, anything can happen, especially in a highly energized industry and with such hardcore fans as the ones that the PS4 and Xbox One have. Who knows? Microsoft might just surprise everyone.