Updated — Here’s Your Follow Up, Guys
In which we follow up on this story, you guys.
An anonymous source familiar with the matter has confirmed to Inside Gaming that the Xbox One will release in a bundle without a Kinect in Summer 2014.
In fact, there will be two such bundles. One “normal” Kinect-less bundle and another “budget” bundle with a smaller hard drive. The budget Xbox One will undercut the PlayStation 4′s price.
With the PlayStation 4 selling for $400, the budget Xbox One model may retail for $350 or $375.
This contradicts Microsoft’s repeated implication that the Xbox One won’t function without a Kinect attached, but it’s sounding more and more like that’s a bit of PR smoke just to get the Kinect in people’s homes. According this post on the Xbox Wire regarding the Kinect’s privacy, the Kinect’s functionality can be completely paused and “when the system is off, it’s only listening for the single voice command — ‘Xbox On,’ and you can even turn that feature off too.”
This approach to selling the Xbox One makes a lot of sense, primarily because early adopters will buy the system no matter what, with little regard for bundles or prices.
That being the case, why wouldn’t Microsoft release a Kinect bundle first? It will only get more Kinects in more homes, giving Microsoft more leverage to ask developers to make Kinect-centric games and features.
Once Microsoft has sold all the $500 bundles they can, they can then release a cheaper bundle. In this way, they sell as many units as possible at a higher price point before giving consumers the option to pay less.
This approach diverges from Microsoft’s strategy with the Xbox 360. That platform launched with “Premium” and “Core” skus at the same time in late 2005, with the first price cut coming in mid 2007.
By releasing additional skus at lower prices in mid 2014, Microsoft would ostensibly be spurring unit sales for a large exclusive title in late 2014. The easy guess there would be the platform’s emblematic series Halo.