Microsoft has announced that it will be selling a standalone Xbox One that will cost about $100 less than the current bundle.
The gaming and entertainment console will cost $399 starting on June 9 in all geographies, and will ship without Kinect, its trademark accessory that enables you to do motion and voice controls. It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon.com or Best Buy.
The Redmond-based company has failed to sell the Xbox faster than Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has been selling for $399 from the start. For example, in April, Sony announced that it sold through more than 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles globally as of April 6. In contrast, Microsoft announced that it has shipped — not sold — more than 5 million Xbox One’s to retailers worldwide.
Clearly, by dropping the price, it hopes to supercharge lagging sales, but what’s interesting about this price drop is that it won’t likely hurt margins since it is also taking out a piece of hardware at the same time.
Without Kinect, users won’t be able to use their voice to control the device, or play games with motion, but Microsoft assured consumers today that the experience on the new Xbox One offering will not be compromised and will continue to deliver access to the games and provide access popular entertainment apps.
Xbox also overhauled the value of the Xbox Live Gold membership, by adding free games and exclusive discounts. It also said you will no longer need the Gold membership to access apps, like Netflix and Hulu. (See separate story here.)
Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said today in a statement that he doesn’t want to confuse the marketplace on how Microsoft feels about Kinect.
“Kinect remains an important part of our vision,” he writes. “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.”
Most commonly used commands include “Xbox On,” “Xbox Broadcast” and “Xbox Record That.”
So, if you buy the cheaper Xbox bundle, and decide later on that you do want the Kinect, that will eventually be available, too. More details on about the standalone Kinect for Xbox One in the coming months.