Yes, that’s right. The next gen console you probably didn’t want has finally been announced without the motion controls that you definitely didn’t want. Microsoft will be releasing a version of the Xbox One without the Kinect strapped to it from the 9th of June priced at £349, dropping the price by £80 and removing a piece of hardware that barely works.
The launch of the next gen consoles last year was remembered by most as a celebration of the PlayStation 4’s superiority over its competitor, the Xbox One. The preference for the Sony console came about for several reasons, such as hardware, exclusive game series, a lower price tag, and it’s presentation as a games console rather than a platform for watching sports. But since that time Microsoft’s position has somewhat improved with its acquisition of certain exclusive games, current and upcoming including Killer Instinct and Sunset Overdrive.
It’s hard to have missed all the PlayStation adverts and their “For the Players” taglines, this meant that Sony were establishing their console as the device that cared about what the often neglected players did and didn’t want. By contrast Microsoft’s target market seemed unclear as they seemed to neglect “the players” to focus on family markets, most likely hoping to dip into the Nintendo audience base, but after establishing their unpopularity at launch, they ended up with neither.
It seems Microsoft is finally prepared to swallow their pride and cut the dead weight that is the Kinect peripheral and attempt to repair their reputation by playing the underdog for a few years, much as Sony had to with the release of the PS3 in 2006.
It’s unlikely that the Xbox One will gain significant recognition until their big name franchises of Halo and Gears of War release another game, so until then Microsoft will be playing catch up with PlayStation to gain back the trust of the hard-core gaming market, who are less than convinced.