Just as Microsoft is set to make announcements at the big E3 video game conference, the company today has begun selling a cheaper version of its Xbox One console.
Previously announced in May, Microsoft is now offering a $399 Xbox One — $100 cheaper than normal — that comes without the Kinect sensor, its trademark accessory that enables you to do motion and voice controls.
Without Kinect, users won’t be able to use their voice to control the device, or play games with motion, but Microsoft assured consumers last month 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.
It will be interesting to see how much Xbox One sales increase, if at all, after the $100 price cut. The Xbox One still trails the $399 PS4 in worldwide sales, while Sony’s console has held a sales lead in the U.S. for the past four months.
Xbox exec Phil Harrison told OXM last month that lowering console prices and increasing demand will help the Xbox One ecosystem overall. His thinking is that the more gamers there are on Xbox One, the more developers will be enticed to make Xbox One games.
Still, Harrison added that Microsoft remains committed to Kinect “as the premium way to experience the Xbox One vision.” In fact, Xbox head Phil Spencer told CNET that the decision to offer an Xbox One without the Kinect will actually result in more Kinect unit sales in the end. Microsoft plans on selling a standalone Kinect in the future for that purchase the $399 Xbox One.
A recent survey found that some Xbox 360 owners are still wary of purchasing an Xbox One, even after the $100 price cut.
We’ll be following any Xbox-related announcements at E3 today, so check back on GeekWire for that.