The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both wonderful consoles. However, from a sales perspective, the PS4 is kicking the Xbox One's butt. While we can argue the "why" all day, one of the causes is likely that Sony's offering has a less expensive starting point.
On paper, the PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One but that is deceiving. Microsoft's console includes the awesome Kinect camera, while Sony users must purchase a similar accessory separately. Of course, if you do not require the Kinect, it can feel like you are paying for something you do not want. I understand that and apparently many users have made that same opinion known to Microsoft. The company has announced that it is divorcing the Xbox One from the Kinect in an all-new purchase option.
"Beginning on June 9th, in all markets where Xbox One is sold, we will offer Xbox One starting at $399. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect. For $399, our new Xbox One offering will continue to deliver access to the best blockbuster games like Titanfall, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, and the upcoming Watch Dogs, Destiny and Sunset Overdrive. You will also be able to access popular entertainment apps, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide. Finally, you will continue to be able to use many of the unique features of Xbox One including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload your favorite gaming moments", says Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox.
Spencer further explains, "to be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision. 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. Some of the most popular voice commands include 'Xbox On', 'Xbox Broadcast' and 'Xbox Record That'. We will continue to offer a premium Xbox One with Kinect bundle to deliver voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as 'Kinect Sports Rivals', 'Just Dance 2014', 'Project Spark' and more".
Microsoft will continue to sell the Kinect bundle. However, if you opt for the Kinect-less package, you will have the opportunity to buy it later at an undisclosed price. Quite frankly though, if you plan on buying into Microsoft's Xbox environment, you would have to be crazy to forgo Kinect - it is such a huge part of the experience and losing it is not worth the savings. However, parents who are adverse to spending money and looking to save some cheddar will likely buy this, so I understand why Microsoft is doing it.
Even more exciting however, is that you will no longer have to buy a Gold Live membership to access entertainment apps. This is huge news as before you needed to buy a Gold membership to access things you are already paying for, like Netflix. This brings Xbox One and Xbox 360 entertainment on par with the PlayStation 4.