Microsoft’s decision to finally unbundle Kinect from the Xbox One and in the process equal the PlayStation 4 in price has been hailed as the last of its humiliating Xbox Onw climb-downs, which have seen such amazing new features as support for used games and the ability to function without an Internet connection added in response to consumer demand.
Microsoft is spinning the decision to provide a version of the console sans Kinect as a deft response to “your feedback”:
Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you.
Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build.
Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we’ve delivered since.
Today, we’re excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build.
First, beginning 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.
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.
Additionally, the Xbox Live Gold requirement for many services is being watered down:
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
Although the decision to drop mandatory Kinect may have had more to do with the irrelevance of Kinect to most games and the sales boost a cheaper console might represent, the move also means that more circumspect Xbox One gamers will also be spared the hassle of disabling their new MSNSA monitoring device – although most still seem to think it far too late to rescue this generation from the jaws of Sony.