Microsoft announces Kinect-free Xbox One on sale June 9 for $399

Microsoft logoMicrosoft has announced the launch of a Kinect-less Xbox One coming June 9 for $399.99. The price finally matches that of the console's current-gen rival, the PlayStation 4. The announcement from Xbox head Phil Spencer also confirms Ars' exclusive report yesterday, saying that "popular entertainment apps will be available for all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners... whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership."

This may be the final chapter in a long, slow Kinect backtracking process on Microsoft's part. As originally planned, the Xbox One would have required a Kinect sensor to be connected at all times, but complaints about privacy and security factored into Microsoft pulling that requirement at the eleventh hour.

Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft has also repeatedly insisted that Kinect is essential to the Xbox One experience, telling Ars last September that Kinect is "as fundamental to the platform as the controller is in many ways." As recently as March, Microsoft Xbox Group Program Manager David Dennis told Ars that Kinect "is really something that we feel, once you take [it] out, lots of people will go, 'Gosh, I really liked that, I got used to it, and I'm going to miss it." Still, former Microsoft executive Peter Molyneux said just last month that he was "sure they’re going to release an Xbox One without Kinect. It would be unthinkable that they wouldn't."

Currently, only a few retail Xbox One games require the Kinect sensor, including the recent Kinect Sports Rivals, which was released to lukewarm reception. Among upcoming releases, Harmonix' Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is one of the only announced high-profile titles to require the previously bundled camera and microphone accessory.

Additionally, today's announcement detailed another oft-demanded change to the Xbox platform: the removal of an Xbox Live Gold paywall to access streaming media services like Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN. That change will come "in June," though no date was confirmed at this time. Microsoft also detailed discounts and freebies that will come to Xbox Live Gold members sometime in June; in particular, Games with Gold will finally come to Xbox One, and its first freebies will include the games Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo Spartan Assault.

Buyers of the new Xbox One SKU will be able to purchase a Kinect separately "this fall."

We will be speaking to Phil Spencer about the announcement later today.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: game consoles, Microsoft, Xbox One

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