Microsoft made a few announcements this week.
The first and foremost of which is that they’re making the Xbox One available for purchase without the Kinect. The Kinect-less model (not the official title) will be available in stores from June 9, and sheds a hefty US$100 from the retail price, down to US$399 (£349). The Kinect-included bundle will continue to be available for the existing price. Microsoft are insistent that they still believe the Kinect to be integral to the Xbox One experience, but have decided to let consumers come to that conclusion themselves after purchasing the now equally priced with the PS4 model.
Microsoft have also announced some changes for Xbox Live Gold. Apps such as Internet Explorer, Twitch, Netflix, HBO Go, NHL Game Center, etc. will no longer require a Gold subscription to access. It’s about damn time. Addtionally, Microsoft will be expanding their Games With Gold program. From next month they will start offering Xbox One titles for free, and will be offering 50-70% off deals on specific titles month-to-month for Gold subscribers. In line with these improvements, a continued Gold subscription will be required in order to maintain access to the free titles, as is the case with Sony’s PS Plus.
Seems as though Microsoft is making moves towards parity with the PS4. Not too surprising given the sales figures so far this generation. The rapidly approaching E3 event will no doubt have many more interesting announcements in store.