New bundle to launch without sensor next month, Games with Gold heading to the new-gen platform.
It looks like Microsoft has performed another one of their new infamous 180 u-turns, with the platform holder about to release a new version of the Xbox One without a Kinect in the box as early as next month, retailing at $399.99.
The platform holder has also confirmed that they're going to be opening Games with Gold up to Xbox One owners (previously it was only Xbox 360 subscribers), mimicking the move made by Sony with PS4 when that console launched last year.
The Kinect-less Console
We're still not sure how much the Kinect-less Xbox One will cost when it lands on these shores, and if the date mentioned (June 9) is relevant to us over here. All we know for sure is that Microsoft are responding to the fans - those who've asked for a version of the console that meets specific demands, namely a retail bundle without the much maligned sensor. (Update - We just got word from Microsoft that the console will retail in the UK at £349.99, and in Europe for €399.99, and the June 9 launch date applies here too, not just in North America.)
"Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. 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," said a statement made by Phil Spencer.
A standalone Kinect will be following "later this fall", for anyone who picks up the Kinect-less bundle but then changes their mind and decides they want the sensor after all.
"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," Spencer continued.
"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."
Games with Gold is heading to Xbox One, and starts next month. The first games to appear on the service are going to be Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Halo: Spartan Assault.
Gold membership will continue on Xbox 360 (to mark the one year anniversary of the promotion there'll even be a bonus game - Dark Souls and Charlie Murder will be joined by Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition), and a single membership will cover both platforms.
Deals with Gold will also launch next month, offering discounts on games to Gold members. Microsoft are suggesting that in the coming months we'll see between 50-75% off certain games. There's also going to be a virtual VIP room for Gold subscribers.
As rumoured earlier today, entertainment apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One will be available to all gamers, not just Gold subscribers. An American-centric list of Apps can be seen below.