Responding to feedback, Microsoft announced a cheaper Xbox One that comes without Kinect and drops the Xbox Live Gold requirement for apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch.
Today Microsoft announced a cheaper, $399 model of its Xbox One system, which will be available June 9. The price cut comes from removing the Kinect, previously thought to be a required accessory. As to why Microsoft made this sudden change, the company said: “Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build.”
In another big policy change, all Xbox owners will get access to entertainment apps previously available only to Xbox Live Gold subscribers for a $60 annual fee. These apps include Machinima, Twitch and Upload; and popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV, and HBO Go.
Xbox Live Gold members will continue to get free games, plus exclusive discounts on Xbox One and 360 titles, from 50-75% off. Microsoft also promises improvements in the selection of free titles.
Undoubtedly Microsoft wants to present a more competitive package to the PS4, which has been priced at $399 since launch. But will the price cut be enough to woo gamers? The standalone console comes out on June 9, but you can preorder now. Standalone Kinect bars will also be available later this fall, in case buyers change their minds.