A Kinect-less version of the Xbox One will be available June 9 for $399, Microsoft announced today.
The package will be available "in all markets where Xbox One is sold," said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. For purchasers of the Kinect-free Xbox One, Microsoft will offer a standalone Xbox One Kinect sensor this fall.
This June, Microsoft will also debut its Games with Gold program on Xbox One. That same month, the company will no longer require customers to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to use non-gaming apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
According to Spencer, today's console announcement shouldn't be seen as a commentary on the Xbox One Kinect's success or lack thereof, but rather as one way in which Microsoft is listening to feedback from its consumers.
"We've heard that you want more choices from Xbox One. You want a wide variety of options in your games and entertainment experiences and you also want options in your hardware selection," said Spencer. "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."
Microsoft launched one version of the Xbox One last November, a $499 package that included the Kinect sensor. That existing bundle will continue to be sold. The Kinect-free option brings the Xbox One in line with Sony's PlayStation 4, which has been available for $399 since its launch in November with a camera available as an optional $59.99 add-on.
When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One last May, the company's original plan was that the Kinect would need to be connected in order for the console to function, because it was "an essential and integrated part of the platform." Microsoft later eliminated that requirement while maintaining that viewpoint on the Kinect's importance. For more on how the Xbox One came to be, check out our feature on its industrial design.
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