Logan Burtch-Buus

In a surprise announcement last week, Microsoft revealed a new model for their Xbox One home gaming console to be available to the public June 9. This Kinect-free unit will be on sale for $399. This change in the console’s hardware and an improved price tag will allow the Xbox to compete with the superior sales of Sony’s Playstation 4. Both of the consoles were released in time for the holidays last year after an exciting marketing war. Late last month, Sony released a figure stating that nearly 7 million units had been sold in the 5 months since the console’s release. Comparing this to the reported 5 million Xbox One units sold by Microsoft, a clear winner has emerged in the next generation of home gaming consoles.

This news comes as a surprise as Microsoft had been adamantly sticking to their guns on the implementation of their revolutionary motion control device. Called the next step in home gaming by Microsoft when it was announced to the public, the Kinect device operates much like a web cam and allows Xbox users to control their console through body movement and voice input. The news of the hardware’s removal in the new model comes almost exactly one year after the Xbox One was announced to be included with the motion capture device as a requirement for using the Xbox One.

Officials from Microsoft stated that the decision to remove the Kinect has come as a result of feedback from the gaming community. Requiring customers to have an array of microphones and a camera not only attached but operating to use the console was a feature of the Xbox One that was removed before launch last year after an enormous outcry. Microsoft seems to be listening to their customer base, occasionally, and is continuing to listen to feedback.

Microsoft deciding to remove the Kinect from the base model of the Xbox One allows users to operate their consoles and play games without the Kinect hardware. This could come as an improvement for many people wishing to play the Xbox One, but also as a detriment to many developers. This removal isn’t all bad, though. In theory the removal of the Kinect could also free up some significant processing space to enhance the Xbox One’s performance capability, something that the Playstation 4 holds the upper hand in.

Though the success of the Xbox One and the Kinect have remained below that of the Playstation 4, many developers and gamers were excited to use the Kinect on the Xbox One.

Offering an Xbox One model without the Kinect apparatus comes as a blow to many video game developers that were beginning to put together some impressive projects for the Kinect, Disney among them. Is Microsoft taking a step back from the hardware that they have so adamantly claimed is the future of the gaming vision?

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