Microsoft to sell Kinect-free Xbox One for US$399

13 May 2014

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From 9 June, Microsoft will begin selling a version of its Xbox One console without the Kinect motion controller for US$399 (€291), effectively US$100 cheaper.

The move begs the question as to whether Microsoft would have sold more Xbox One consoles if it didn’t bundle the Kinect when it launched worldwide in November.

“Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you,” Xbox chief Phil Spencer said.

“Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build. Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we’ve delivered since.”

Sans Kinect

Spencer emphasised that despite the new configuration Kinect remains an important part of Microsoft’s vision.

“Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console.

“Some of the most popular voice commands include ‘Xbox On,’ ‘Xbox Broadcast’ and ‘Xbox Record That.’ We will continue to offer a premium Xbox One with Kinect bundle to deliver voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as ‘Kinect Sports Rivals,’ ‘Just Dance 2014,’ ‘Project Spark’ and more.”

He also said that buyers of the US$399 configuration can still decide to buy a Kinect sensor when a standalone sensor for Xbox One goes on sale in the autumn.

Gold members

Spencer said that in all markets where Xbox is sold it will offer an Xbox One without the Kinect motion sensor for US$399.

He also confirmed that users will be able to access apps like Netflix, HBO GO, Red Bull TV, Machinima, Twitch and others without having to have Xbox Live Gold membership.

However, new perks were introduced for Gold members including free games access for 360 owners including games like Dark Souls, Charlie Murder and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition from June.

On Xbox One the free games programme for Xbox Live Gold members will begin with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com