Microsoft Announces Xbox One Without Kinect

Microsoft has announced that a lower-priced Xbox One model that doesn’t include Kinect will be released in June.

Remember when Microsoft said that the Xbox One would not work without Kinect? Apparently that was a bit of an overstatement, as the company announced today that effective June 9, the Xbox One will be available without Kinect for $399. The new model will support all the same games as Kinect-equipped hardware, access to apps like Twitch, YouTube and Netflix, and “many” of its other features, like the ability to switch between apps and games and receive gaming invitations while you watch television.

“To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our 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,” Xbox Chief Phil Spencer said. “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.”

Spencer also confirmed that gamers who opt for the $399 Kinect-free Xbox One will be able to purchase a standalone sensor that will be released in the fall.

It’s quite a turnaround for Microsoft, which positioned Kinect as an indispensable part of the Xbox One experience. An FAQ from May of last year described it as “an essential and integrated part of the platform,” and in September, Microsoft VP Phil Harrison told CVG, “Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems.” It’s hardly the first, however: The company has previously ditched plans to require an always-on internet connection, restrictions on used game trading and prohibitions against indie self-publishing. The elimination of Kinect as a mandatory part of the system is the final step in a climbdown from its initial grand vision that’s been both ugly and, as it turned out, entirely necessary.

In the same announcement, Microsoft also confirmed a rumor from earlier today that access to streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Twitch and HBO GO will be available without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

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4 Comments on Microsoft Announces Xbox One Without Kinect

T. Jetfuel

On May 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

Ah, one of those sweet “told you so” moments.

“Was it a vision, or a waking dream?”

Ron Whitaker

On May 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

Yeah, nice to see this one happen, since we’ve been waiting for it since…..well, since they announced the Xbox One.

matthew s

On May 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

Yet more back peddling from Microsoft. Glad to see this announcement though because it means ill more likely pick up an XB1 since Kinect does not appeal to me and if that where to change I can always pick up a sensor later down the line.

Also are there any features left from the console reveal seems like they’ve pretty much changed everything even the things that “could not be changed”.

Black Walder

On May 14, 2014 at 5:39 am

So much for “dragging luddite whiny entitled peons kicking and screaming into the 21st century,” as certain corporate apologists/obedient fantoys declared about Xbox One’s ridiculous policies when they were announced. Moreorless every customer-unfriendly thing that we were told was absolutely crucial to Xbox One has now been reversed. The sad thing is that there’ll still be people claiming it’s a sad day for the industry when companies actually have to deliver what’s best for the consumer, but fortunately they’re proving themselves to be the true “vocal minority” in each of these exchanges and people power is winning the day regularly.

Of course, Microsoft ends up ‘winning’ here because they might start to make the eighth-gen ‘wars’ competitive now.