Microsoft has officially announced in a blog post by Xbox Head Phil Spencer that they’re giving in to the demand of would-be Xbox One owners and “delivering more choices for fans” by releasing a version of the company’s next-gen console without Kinect.
The new Kinect-less Xbox One bundle will be priced at $399 and will be available starting June 9th in all markets where the Xbox One is sold.
“We’ve heard that you want more choices from Xbox One. You want a wide variety of options in your games and entertainment experiences and you also want options in your hardware selection,” said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox at Microsoft. “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision.”
Additionally, a standalone Kinect sensor for Xbox One will be made available later this fall for those who purchase the Kinect-less Xbox One and decide to get one later on.
The new bundle puts the Xbox One in the same price range as Sony’s own next-gen console the PS4 which leads the Xbox One in sales worldwide by at least 2 million units. Two of the reasons why people stayed away from the Xbox One were the more expensive price and mandatory inclusion of the Kinect and this announcement seems to be Microsoft’s response to those concerns.
Microsoft also announced that it’s removing the Xbox Live Gold requirement to access certain apps on the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Starting sometime in June, entertainment apps like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO; Gaming apps like Twitch and Machinima; and Microsoft apps like Internet Explorer and Skype will all be accessible by anyone who owns an Xbox One or Xbox 360 regardless of their Xbox Live subscription level.
Microsoft doesn’t want to devalue Xbox Live Gold subscriptions so they’re keeping features like Online Multiplayer, Parties & Party Chat, Free Games with Games with Gold, and Game DVR Cloud Storage exclusive to Gold users. The company is also planning to offer exclusive discounts of up to 50- to 75-percent for games to Xbox Live Gold members.