Microsoft will remain fully committed to to the support of the Xbox One’s Kinect says European Studios chief Phil Harrison, despite the concerns over the release of the Kinect-less SKU. Instead, Microsoft believe that instead it’ll help strengthen the Xbox brand, bringing the hardware into the hands of more customers and lure other developers into producing titles for the system.
“Last week we made a very significant announcement about giving gamers a choice, a choice about how they want to enter the Xbox One ecosystem, by offering them a version of Xbox One both with and without Kinect,” Harrison observed. “And fundamentally that is good for opening up the Xbox One ecosystem – the more consumers who buy Xbox One, it’s a virtuous cycle for more developers to make and more consumers to play games, and that is what we’re committed to achieving and continuing.”
“But we remain committed to Kinect as the premium way to experience the Xbox One vision,” he insisted. “Over 80 per cent of Kinect Xbox Ones are active, over 120 voice commands are issued per day on average by all users of the console, so when you have this premium experience that is where the Xbox One comes alive.”
The internet was set ablaze when news of the Kinect-less Xbox One SKU hit, and despite it being somewhat inevitable current Xbox One users weren’t too happy. The major two contentions being that they were told there weren’t plans to release a Kinect-less SKU (which has changed several months down the line) so if they didn’t want the Kinect in the first place, they bought the console at a higher price than necessary. The second concern being Microsoft allowing Kinect to effectively fade into the background – which would mean users who did genuinely enjoy the Kinect experience would also feel somewhat left out in the cold.
Unfortunately – with gaming in particular, consoles prices and better deals can come about at seemingly the drop of a hat. New revisions of consoles (such as slim versions for example) can be released with little warning, and often at large price reductions. It’s somewhat part and parcel of being an early adopter, whether that’s a console, graphics card or anything else in IT – remember there’s rumors Sony are working on another PS4 design too.
The concern over less support for Kinect however is somewhat harder to argue with – particularly for lovers of Kinect. While it’s true some Xbox One users don’t even plug in their Kinect (I’ve one friend who told me he didn’t even take it out of the box, and that he’d rather just use the joypad) where as others love the voice commands and flexibility. But here’s the main point – it could really be the best option for even Kinect lovers. Really third party developers will only produce titles if they feel they’ll sell on the system, and unfortunately that means a large install base. If the PS4 gets a huge lead on the Xbox One due to a cheaper price it’s going to mean either less exclusives or less ported titles.
This is a pain Nintendo know quite well with their Wii U, and are trapped in a vicious cycle of devs not creating titles because not a large customer base, and customers not buying the machine due to lack of third party titles. It was likely a hard decision for Microsoft and I personally believe it was the best choice they could make for the machine at this point in time. While it’s likely of little comfort to developers who were developing Xbox One Kinect titles it provides customers greater choice. Plus, don’t forget about the boost in performance titles can receive while Kinect isn’t activated.
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Thanks to OXM