This morning Microsoft finally revealed when it plans to launch the Kinect 2 sensor for its Xbox One entertainment console. In addition to finally giving $399 Xbox One owners a bit of hope, the company may have just given users another huge reason to pick up the more expensive Xbox One bundle over the cheaper model it introduced to match the PS4’s price.
Microsoft revealed the cheaper price and release date for the Kinect 2 sensor on its Xbox Wire news blog earlier today. Starting October 7th users will be able to pick up the sensor by itself for a shocking $149.99 before taxes. That price matches how much the original Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 cost users separately from that console, so the pricing isn’t exactly shocking even if it is unfortunate.
Users have been able to purchase the Xbox One without a Kinect 2 sensor for $399 since June. Any user who purchased the Xbox One bundle and then decides to get the Kinect 2 sensor are paying a $50 premium over what they would have paid otherwise. The Xbox One with Kinect 2 sensor costs $499.
Thankfully, Microsoft is including a bit of extra incentive for users to pick up the Kinect 2 sensor if they already have an Xbox One. Each Kinect 2 sensor sold will include a download code for Dance Central Spotlight, the upcoming rhythm and choreography game that developer Harmonics announced earlier this year. Dance Central Spotlight uses the Kinect 2 sensor to see where user’s arms, hands, faces and hips are. Successfully competing in the game means learning the choreography from today’s most popular songs and pulling off each move as it’s shown off on-screen. In no way is Dance Central Spotlight a hardcore game, but really it’s not meant to be. Instead, the game is more about losing yourself in the music and having fun with friends. In fact, Dance Central is pretty much a game meant for parties. At the very least Dance Central will be more exiting than the rather lame Kinect Adventures game that Microsoft gave away with the first-generation Kinect sensor.
Microsoft originally, wanted every Xbox One come with a Kinect 2 sensor. Part of the reason for that was that the Kinect 2 sensor and Xbox One console were so made for each other that it just wasn’t a next-generation entertainment experience without both of them. It also didn’t hurt that by having more Kinect 2 sensors attached to Xbox Ones, Microsoft would have been better able to convince developers to make games with some kind of motion control. It’s believed that early sales of the console suffered because Microsoft charged $499 for the Xbox One + Kinect bundle. In June it introduced the cheaper Xbox One that doesn’t include Kinect 2.
Having a Kinect 2 sensor plugged into an Xbox One adds a lot of functionality. For starters users never need to pick up a controller, they can simply navigate the entire experience with their hands. Xbox Ones with Kinect can also interpret voice commands. A personal favorite of mine is “Xbox, On.” Giving that command turns on the Xbox One and any extra media equipment users have. With the sensor Skype video calling is suddenly useful so Xbox One owners can chat with their friends. Combined with the HDMI pass-through port and a cable box enables live television support on the console. Commands like “Xbox, watch ABC Family” make it easy to change between different channels and find the show you’re looking for.
A few weeks ago GameStop began selling used Kinect 2 sensors available for purchase. As such, users don’t have to wait until the Kinect 2’s formal October 7th launch date to add features to their console. Used sensors from the gaming retail outlet cost $129.99 in store. They aren’t sold online.