Microsoft is taking off the kid gloves in the next-gen console wars. Starting June 9, consumers can purchase the Xbox One without the Kinect sensor for $399. That's quite a difference from the $499 of the original console configuration.
According to Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, Kinect "remains an important part of our vision." Although Microsoft claims that Kinect has an 80 percent usage rate, it's likely that much of it was not gaming related.
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Despite launching several Kinect-only Xbox One games such as "Kinect Sports Rivals," "Zumba Fitness World Party" and "Just Dance 2014," the upgraded sensor hasn't been getting much love in the gaming sphere. Instead, the new Kinect has mostly been relegated to a voice and gesture command system when its time to switch between games and apps.
To further entice gamers, Microsoft has also announced that the popular Xbox 360 Games with Gold program is finally making the jump to the One. Available to Xbox Live Gold members, Games with Gold gives members access to two free games a month.
In June, One owners will be able to download "Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood" and "Halo: Spartan Assault." Also, Xbox One gamers can look forward to Deals with Gold, which will give Gold members significant discounts of up to 50 to 70 percent off on selected titles. The company is kicking off the program with "Ryse: Son of Rome" and "Forza Motorsport 5."
In bonus news that will make Xbox 360 and One owners happy, Microsoft has stated that entertainment apps such as Netflix, HBO Go, Machinima, Twitch and Upload, and the NFL app for Xbox One will be available for all Xbox users with or without a Xbox Live membership.