Microsoft Rumored To Drop the Kinect Sensor for the Xbox One

One market research firm believes Microsoft will unbundle the Kinect 2 sensor from its Xbox One console as it seeks to boost sales as it fights Sony’s PS4 for domination of the home console space.

IDC included the prediction in a report about how it expects the video game console market to develop over the next few years, late last week. It’s IDC’s belief that Microsoft will ditch the Kinect 2 sensor it now includes with every Xbox One so that it can get the console on store shelves at the same price as the PS4. Today, the Xbox One sells for $499. That’s $100 more than the price of the PS4. Microsoft includes that Xbox One sensor as a sort of differentiator between its device and the competition.

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The Xbox One uses the Kinect 2 sensor to communicate with user’s television sets. This allows users to say, “Xbox, Watch ABC Family” and have the console instantly turn to that channel. Users can say, “Xbox, OneGuide” and get a list of their favorite channels and what’s going to be airing over the next few hours. Users can access this information with just the Xbox One’s controller, but the whole idea is to make Kinect an equalizer, a way members of the family who haven’t mastered the Xbox One’s controller can reliably change channels and more. That’s key since the Xbox One controller includes a dozen or so buttons whose functionality changes depending on what app or service is open at that moment.

Read: Xbox One Review – My Experience Six Months Later

Today, the sensor is used for the Xbox Fitness personal trainer and a few Kinect-exclusive games like Kinect Sports: Rivals and the Fighter Within. Being able to play without a controller is intended to help Microsoft connect more with casual gamers who might prefer iPhone and Android games today. Unfortunately, Kinect Sports: Rivals is about the only full Xbox One game of quality that relies on Kinect 2. The Fighter Within is generally considered to be a bad title, that doesn’t use the Kinect 2 very well. That’s despite the Kinect 2 sensor being more accurate than the original Kinect sensor Microsoft included with the Xbox 360. To make matters worse, Kinect Sports: Rivals only arrived last month. That’s roughly four months after the console’s launch and its original release date.

Some titles use the Kinect to simply enhance what’s available to users with their controller. For example, Madden NFL 25 allows users to call time-outs and manage plays without hitting a single button on their controller.

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It’s worth noting that IDC doesn’t believe that Microsoft will make this change in its Xbox Live line-up soon. The firm is predicting that an Xbox One won’t be sold without a Kinect 2 sensor until sometime in 2015. That means that for the next year Microsoft will have to spend time and money educating possible Xbox One buyers on why the Kinect 2 sensor worth spending the extra $100. That’s something Microsoft hasn’t done a great job of lately, mostly because it’s spending all of its marketing money and effort trying to appeal to the hard-core gaming crowd that it feels it may have lost to the PS4.

IDC also predicts that the Xbox One will eventually eclipse sales of the PS4 in the United States, mostly because of this hypothetical price drop that’ll stem from dropping the Kinect sensor from its included hardware lineup. What it considers micro-consoles, or small electronic boxes that users can play basic games off  like the Kindle Fire TV, will slightly eat away at disc-based games sales. It’s final prediction indicates that Sony will “win” this console generation in terms of sales but lose in the United States where the allure of the Xbox One is the strongest.

All told, IDC’s report makes sense but doesn’t exactly hold up to close scrutiny. It’s IDC’s belief that Microsoft will be driven to drop the Kinect from its $499 bundle because it wants to top the PS4 in sales. It assumes that users are simply waiting to pick up the Xbox One until it’s as cheap as its rival. What it ignores is that without the Kinect sensor included in the Xbox One, most perspective buyers might still be better off buying the PS4. The Xbox One is meant as an all-in-one entertainment console, that can play games. Not having a Kinect 2 sensor included would mean that users would need to pick up a remote. Worse, the Xbox One relies on the Kinect 2 sensor to communicate with user’s cable box, audio equipment and television set. Forcing users to pay extra for that completely undermines the point of buying an Xbox One in the first place and makes the console no better than the  PS4.

Finally, the report ignores recent shifts in Microsoft’s Xbox One strategy as far as pricing is concerned. Today, the Xbox One comes bundle with either Forza 5 or Titanfall, absolutely free. Buying either of these games separate would cost users an extra $60 on top of the price of the console. Meanwhile, buyers of the PS4 don’t get a free game with that console unless they subscribe to its PlayStation Plus service. PlayStation Plus costs users $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

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Update: An earlier version of this story cited Kinect Fitness as an advantage of the Kinect sensor. That game’s actual name is Xbox Fitness.

Comments

  1. Nick says

    You’re assuming, though, that people are buying the One SOLELY because of Kinect, which simply isn’t true. Many of us have been Xbox guys for years, and want to stay with what feels familiar. I don’t want, or have any need for the Kinect, and I should not be forced to but something I will never use. The One still has potential, but so long as Kinect is forced, they’re going to alienate a good portion of their market.

    • forza4ever says

      Xbox is my system of choice, not because of kinect…but because it has better exclusives and because xbox live is the better on-line service. Also…from what i have seen the xbox one was designed to evolve over time….with the cloud and dx12 coming into full use over the next year or 2. Microsoft will have a true next gen machine with interactive original TV programming and true next gen games utilizing thr power of the cloud….which is very real and a powerful DIRECT X12 software developnent kit that was not ready at launch but will result in true next gen games. I am enjoying kinect and it is an interesting technology…not for fools who like to sit in a chair with controller in hand shooting people. The sensor works beautifully…and i was playing several intense tennis matches against my kinect sports rivals last night while watching a baseball game on-screen at the same time…..that is new technology. It is too early to judge the kinect…it has a very interesting future in my opinion.

    • BSKB says

      The Kinnect is absolutely essential to the Xbox One experience. Not for gaming, but for everything else. Once you have tried it in your home to watch tv, navigate between apps and handle a skype call you get a sense of the kinnect’s core strength. I love being able to use my entertainment center with just my voice while making dinner.

    • LOL says

      You are correct people are not buying the Xbox One because of only two reasons, Kinect and price and not because of resolution, framerate or games.

      • Nick says

        I don’t know if you actually believe that, or if you’re trolling. If graphics were the driving factor, everyone would play PC. The One does have some unique titles out now, and also more interesting ones in development. The Kinect and price are what is holding it back, at this point.

  2. McRae says

    Sorry, I didn’t read past the sentence where the writer said “loose” instead of “lose”. smh

  3. thugbot says

    I’ve been with the Xbox brand since it originally came out and I have to say I’m disappointed in the direction. All games require an install, which isn’t a problem if they had kept the removable hard drive or given us at least 2TB. Having 3 games installed I’m at 17% full. They also should have taken the time to put in software backward compatibility, and kept DLNA. As stated by others I didn’t get the system for the Kinect. I got it for the exclusives and because I thought it would work like the 360 and integrate with current house media. It’s become very hard to justify Xbox One and it’s price tag. The games available aren’t compelling. The media component took a giant leap backward, to the point I would rather have a Roku (Never thought I would say that). The leap in graphics :( they still haven’t beat out my 4 year old desktop, which I was willing to deal with but not now.

    • Ray says

      DLNA is still there with the play to feature as well as external HDD as I use a 1TB and the system memory as back up. The system is not backwards compatible because it puts too much stress on the processing as Sony learned their lessons from this when thru original ps3 had so many over heating issues. Not to mention the Xbox One has two additional pays for processing which could allow for backwards compatible game play and even allow development of games right on the console. So all in all I think the things your complaining about have been addressed and deserves another look.

    • bf4guy says

      Must say i disagree. I had a ps4 since launch and sold it to pickup an xbox one titanfall bundle 3 weeks ago. Overall the operating system, apps and game selection are superior to ps4 and better than expected. Couldnt find ANY fun ps4 games to play. PS4s free ps+ games are worthless…nothing holds interest for more than an hour or so. Infamous had no replay value after beating it in 6 hours.
      Happy man now with forza, dead rising, ryse, plants vs zombies, titanfall and kinect sports ! I have owned both…the xbox one is the better machine.

  4. Michel says

    In Canada the PS4 increased in price by $50 so is now $449 to the Xbox’s $499. Add the fact the Xbox One comes with a free game, and the Xbox One becomes cheaper than the PS4, especially if you plan on getting the PS4 camera as well.
    And Xbox Live Gold at Costco is the same price as PS+.
    I don’t own either a PS4 or Xbox One and am not a Gold or PS+ member.

  5. Dakota says

    ugh I have been a xbox fan since the real xbox 1 not this new piece of crap and I have to say the 360 is way better then this new xboxone for many of reasons like the Kinect thing if it breaks you have to spend like 500 dollars so f that and installing games and needing the internet once a day for updates what dumbass thought of that I really hope ps4 wins cause I have been thinking of going to playstation cause of the new xboxone

    • BSKB says

      How many factual inaccuracies do you plan on cramming into one post there fanboy? Connecting to the internet once a day? Nope. Try again.

  6. tony873 says

    Who is buying an XBox One to be an all inclusive media content system? I am not sure of the argument ‘without the Kinect, the user would be required to purchase a remote.” Wouldn’t that come with the system, as in the controller for the gaming system?

    I got an XBox 360 with Kinect as a gift from my sister who, for various reasons, ended up with two for her children. The Kinect is about worthless for anyone with a dog, cat or any other animal that decides it wants some attention while you are playing, not to mention the setup of a room with the placement of the Kinect has to be pretty specific for it to be useable let alone trying to have two people dancing at the same time is next to impossible with any furniture and this in a normal sized living room. We have a 2200 square foot house with two living rooms and both of them were inadequate in size for the kinect for us to dance together. One room only had the TV and a sofa.

    To force me to pay an extra $100 for something so worthless is why my next console upgrade will be a PS4. That and forcing me to pay $60 a year for a Live Gold membership to stream Netflix and Hulu content through my XBox (I stream nothing else and play no live gaming content) is all the reason PS4 is calling my name…..

  7. WIgamer says

    So…have they scrapped the idea of massively dropping cost by churning out a disk-driveless model or is this to happen before that? Figures, rather than make it an actual better deal for the consumer, they would reduce the price by reducing the quality and functionality of the product…maybe bundling the Kinect for the outrageous amount of money they had to make up from launch was a bad idea and now they have to try to balance customer satisfaction with trying not to lose money as a company…if they had been thinking about their customers and the state of world economy in the first place…

  8. Ashley Brown says

    I have had my Xbox 360 since 2008, even when Kinect was announced for the system then, it was a waste. Most are correct in saying “Kinect is a waste of time.” They are true on the factor overall, Kinect is only useful on games like those that require psychical activities and even those are left for the wii. Microsoft needs to cut the price on Xbox One and get rid of Kinect all together.

    • troy872 says

      To each his own i guess. I own both and never touch my ps4 simply because it has no fun games. To me using voice commands to snap tv channels or other apps while playing games is fantastic. And for the record, kinect sports is fantastic fun, some good excersize and awesome for the whole family. My wife and i have heated bowling matches…the sensor works perfectly. Fun games and new technology…I am an xbox one guy. PS4 going on ebay so i can reserve sunset overdrive, halo 5 and gears of war.

  9. Josh G. says

    How does this even qualify as a “rumor”? It’s the misguided opinion of a market research firm that flies directly in the face of public comments made by Microsoft.

    There is a lot of speculation and talk around the idea of dropping the kinect – an awful lot of people saying they would buy it without the kinect, but what they’re really asking for is just a $400 console. It seems more likely to me that MS could hit that price point while still including the kinect (they’re obviously not far off, and the outdated components in these machines are cheaper every day) than unbundling it and creating a fragmented experience for users and developers.

    • Nick says

      While that may be partially true, there are still people who just don’t want the kinect. If they dropped the price by 100 dollars, still with kinect included, then couldn’t they drop the price even more?

      • Michel says

        A reason to keep Kinect on all Xbox’s is so developers can know that every Xbox owner has (Or should have) access to Kinect, so they’re more likely to invest money in developing Kinect games or Kinect features into their games.
        Not knowing how many actually have them or whether those who do have them are your target audience would be iffy for a studio.
        Imagine if only 45% of PS3′s had a useable USB port and how that could have effected games like Rock Band.
        It’s definitely one reason why you don’t see many games for Nintendo 3DS with extra Circle Pad Pro functionality.

        • Nick says

          That argument doesn’t fly with me.
          Forcing the peripheral in the box to try and force devs to utilize it is a recipe for disaster. If a peripheral truly does make a difference, and has this potential that everyone claims, it will sell on it’s own. Forcing it down people’s throats is the wrong approach. The only thing that is accomplishing right now is customer alienation

  10. Tylor Ray Gallagher says

    Yall bitch about Kinect way to much, a lot of products come with accessories you may never use. Its their so that games can include it’s use. And developers well use it. I love it.
    Yall make it seem like you’re entitled to something

    • troy872 says

      Agreed !

      People are idiots…if you have xbox one and like kinect, like me, use it and love it…like me. If you dont like it dont use it or go buy ps4 and sit there your whole life waiting for a fun game to play. To me the kinect presents another option to have fun with my wife and kids that wasnt there before. And when the games really start to shine for it and the interactive tv programming makes great use of it….the idiots will all keep quiet.

  11. Jessica C says

    I personally can see the appeal of the Kinect sensor included with the Xb1, controlling your TV with no controller sounds convenient imho. Personally however, I think it was a major marketing blunder on Microsoft’s behalf to bundle it. Why? Well I can think of 2 reasons…

    1. The only casual-gamer geared control accessory to ever dominate the console market in recent memory was the Wii and its remotes. The Wii caught on as a sort of fad, people were like dang this is easy to play and a cool little thing–oOo I’m not sitting on the couch anymore with this Wii sports, etc etc. However, tons of people bought Wii’s and realized they never use them–and then android, apple, and eventually windows smartphones came out with a cheap mobile gaming scene. As everyone started getting smartphones then, at that point, the casual crowd was like, “Whatever, who needs these stupid consoles?”

    2. There weren’t even alot of games that took advantage of the wiimote that weren’t first party nintendo titles. There weren’t/aren’t many titles that took creative advantage of the controls either on the old Kinect, PS Move, or even the Wii U for that matter. I therefore think it is prudent to hypothesize that developers aren’t going to develop for these non-hardcore control schemes often because they aren’t proven to sell+developing for those things limits the number of platforms devs can release to.

    Otherwise, well for now I’m sparing my wallet and sticking with my PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS and PC (a budget rig I actually made from an old junked Dell Vostro (after maxing out the RAM, putting in a budget AMD card and the best Core 2 Duo I could get) that plays right in the middle between PS3 and PS4 quallity) Quite frankly I just don’t see any need to upgrade just yet. I think I’m gonna end up with a PS4 tho eventually, at least at first unless there’s something really nice on the Xb1 or unless I can actually afford a nicer home entertainment setup in the next few years (who knows, maybe I’ll advance considerably in my career; meh I hope); we’ll see.

  12. Leigh says

    I have xbox 360 & one, ps3 & 4 .. Both xbox have the relevant version of kinect sensor which I use, the xbox one was purchased as it was basically an all in one system.

    My previous ps3 had a camera but I’m not particularly wanting to pay more to get another for both ps systems.

    If I had had to pay more to buy a kinect I’d not have got the systems as knowing Microsoft it would have cost a fortune.

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