Microsoft unbundles Kinect from Xbox One and reduces the price to $399 according to Xbox exec Phil Spencer. On June 9th (in all markets where Xbox One is sold) the console will be offered without the Kinect sensor for the new price putting the cost on par with the PlayStation 4.
While some might interpret this move to mean that Kinect is no longer that important, Spencer was sure to stress the opposite in his blog post. “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision,” he said. “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.
“If you buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide you want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, we will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall. We’ll share more details about the standalone Kinect for Xbox One in the coming months.”
Spencer also revealed new initiatives for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Commemorating the one-year anniversary of Games with Gold, members will receive an additional free Xbox 360 game in June. The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are Dark Souls, Charlie Murder and a bonus game of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. Games with Gold is also coming to Xbox One this June, starting with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. Gold members will be automatically enrolled to get the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Additionally, Deals with Gold for Xbox One will commence in June, which will provide discounts to members for “significant savings” on AAA titles like Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, “and a few other surprises.” There are also plans to launch a virtual VIP room exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members where members will gain access to free games, monthly deals, and other benefits.
Also starting in June, Gold membership will no longer be necessary to use apps like Machinima, Twitch, Upload, Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Redbull, HBO Go, the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.tv, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more.