Microsoft had an incredibly strong showing at its E3 press conference, keeping the focus on games even when announcing things like backward compatibility. Mod support for Fallout 4 is a great addition to Xbox One in general and we hope it comes to more games, and again it's going to make the act of playing games more enjoyable.
Gone was the focus on media functions or the idea that we really want to use the Xbox One to consume sports. Instead it was either news that would help you play games, such as the updated controller, or games themselves, such as the amazing $30 Rare collection.
A quick note on that controller: Does anyone else think Scuf Gaming is having a very, very bad day now that the official controller will offer all the features that used to make Scuf's products so unique? Those adjustable buttons on the rear of the Xbox One controller are going to bring the sort of higher level play people enjoyed on customer controllers to the masses. It's going to be glorious.
The Hololens demo was also beautiful, but a bit misleading; by all reports the field of view is much tighter than what was suggested by the demo. The technology is very exciting, but my understand is that it's not quite as impressive as the way it was portrayed on screen.
The real story though, or at least the lack of story, is that the Kinect is well and truly dead.
Time to cover this in dirt
I reached out to Microsoft when the price drop and new bundles were officially announced to see if we could expect a price drop on the systems with the Kinect, or if any new bundles with the hardware were expected.
"All non-Kinect 500GB consoles will be available at $349. Consoles bundled with Kinect will retail for $499," I was told. "We are always exploring ways to connect with our fans, and are committed to offering fantastic value to all of our customers. We’ll continue to explore bundles in the future, and look forward to revealing more soon."
In other words, don't hold your breath. The least expensive Xbox One bundle that included the Kinect I could find on Amazon was $425, on sale from $499.99.
There were no games announced as supporting the technology. No mention of its name. No sense that Microsoft still considered it a going concern. If you have and like the Kinect you'll still be able to enjoy the voice-command functionality and the games that already exist; but it's unlikely that any new, big-name games will be released in the near future, if at all.
Even Rare is now hard at work on Sea of Thieves, a great-looking multiplayer pirate game. Taking that studio away from a focus on Kinect games and giving them something that looks a bit meatier was a great move; Rare had a great show at the press conference looking toward the future while celebrating the past.
Microsoft is having one of its best E3s in years, and the fact that Kinect had no place in it certainly helped. The Kinect is dead. Long live the Xbox One.