Microsoft gives in, Xbox One drops to $399 without Kinect, entertainment apps leave paywall

This is the second time in this console generation that Microsoft has decided to take Sony’s lead, and it’s working out great for consumers. Just like when Microsoft yielded to the pre-owned games debacle pre-launch, the company is reversing its decision, and this time dropping the Kinect from the Xbox One bundle and lowering the price.
The company stated that on June 9th, “in all markets where Xbox One is sold, we will offer Xbox One starting at $399. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect,” the company said in a statement released today. That wasn’t the end of the good news though, “You will also be able to access popular entertainment apps, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide. Finally, you will continue to be able to use many of the unique features of Xbox One including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload your favorite gaming moments.” Sony does not require the PS+ membership for entertainment apps, but does for online play, same as Microsoft.
“Next, we’re bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold members and offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership,” the company confirmed. Dropping Xbox Live from the entertainment apps has been one of the key complaints that subscribers had for the service.

The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are “Dark Souls,” “Charlie Murder” and a bonus game of “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.” We’re pleased to bring Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One in June. Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.” A single Gold membership will get you access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Microsoft isn’t about to drop its vision for Kinect though, “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision. Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console,” the company stated.
If you buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide you want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, we will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall. We’ll share more details about the standalone Kinect for Xbox One in the coming months.

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