Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Xbox One drops the Kinect, this June.
Microsoft announced today that they're thrilled to deliver more choice to their fans, in the way they buy Xbox One - meaning, while they're not exactly getting their asses handed to them by Sony's PS4, Sony's slight lead is enough for them to drop the One's now-central feature in order to compete on price - and the Kinect-less One will retail for ohhh exactly what a PS4 costs.
Reaction across the 'net has ranged from "well duh" to "nooo!" There are those who suggest that by removing the Kinect standard from Xbox One, Microsoft will (1) hobble development of any and all original, unique Kinect games by splitting the Xbox One user base into folks who have Kinect and those who don't (2) force an update of the One's UI, which I hear is a hassle to navigate without Kinect, and (3) completely abandons their messaging on the One from last year (for like, the third time) when they tried to tell us how it was going to revolutionize how we comb our hair and would, periodically, produce pans of bakery-fresh cinnamon rolls when it wasn't busy performing oral sex on us - and some people really bought in to that messaging. Those people are hurting, today.
I fall into the "well duh" camp. This gives the One price parity with the PS4, and that may be all it needs to regain the lead in North America (I can guarantee a sales boost, at least). I - and I trust Sony - aren't blind to the fact that the PS4's lead over the One is very largely due to the more-attractive price point. Ninety-nine percent of folks out there with Ones and PS4s can't tell you that the PS4 uses GDDR5 ram while the One uses DDR3. They don't know about the specs. They don't care - they saw the price, saw that both had Assassin's Creed IV and bought the cheaper one.
Come this June, when they walk into a Best Buy and see an equivalent price, they won't see a reason to choose the PS4 over the Xbox, in terms of their wallet - and Sony should be worried about that.
Sony, there is literally nothing else for it. You need to cut the price on the 4.
Just do it, Sony. It'll let you maintain your lead. And you want that - 'cause let's be honest, the only thing surprising about this is what on Earth took Microsoft so long.
Now, don't be all Sony about this. Don't say to yourselves "the quality of our exclusive titles and first-party studios will surely speak to the value of our system." No! Bad Sony. Think of Joe and Jane public who don't understand what GDDR5 is. When they walk in to a Wal-Mart and see an Xbox One for $399, what do you think would sway them towards purchasing another console?