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May 13, 2014

Update – Massive Xbox One Changes Announced

by Master Pillow

After months of speculation Microsoft has announced that effective June 9 that consumers can purchase an Xbox One console without the bundled Kinect accessory for $399. This marks yet another 180 degree change in direction for the company that previously commented that Kinect was necessary to achieve the entire Xbox One experience.

While the Xbox One is still selling well this move is certainly welcomed by most diehard gamers who really didn’t care at all for motion controls and hoped for a standalone unit at a cheaper price. At $399 the Xbox One now has price parity with the Playstation 4 and in an odd change of events, if the price point holds will end up actually being cheaper than the PS4 in Canada where Sony’s console actually had a price increase to $449.99.

Regardless, while many gamers will rejoice at this announcement the lack of Kinect can’t exactly be seen as a total slam dunk as it removes the one big differentiator that Microsoft’s console had over Sony’s Playstation 4. A non-mandatory Kinect means that the accessory might quickly end up on the scrap heap as developers decide not to bother programming voice or motion controls into their games.

At the same time though price parity is great the general consensus is that the PS4 clearly still holds the technological edge over the Xbox One meaning that Microsoft will really have to show through exclusive games and services that their product is the better value proposition.

As for other big Xbox One news, it was also announced that the Games for Gold program for the Xbox One will finally begin in June as well and that unlike the Xbox 360, that Microsoft is now aping Sony’s PS+ by turning it into a subscription-based service. That means that those with current Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will be able to download and play free games as long as their subscriptions are valid and not expired. Once Xbox Live Gold is expired all the downloaded free games will be locked out and inaccessible until the Gold subscription is renewed.

Games for Gold for the Xbox One launches in June with access to two games, one being “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and the other is “Halo: Spartan Assault.”

Another big benefit for Xbox One Live Gold subscribers comes for huge discounts to existing games such as saving 50-75% on titles such as “Forza Motorsport 5” and “Ryse: Son of Rome” which is surely a decent offer that should help temporarily boost sales of older titles.

Xbox One news doesn’t end there either as it was also announced that FINALLY some apps will now be available to use for those not subscribed to Xbox Live Gold. This is surely most welcomed as Microsoft has been incredibly slow to recognize that their previous model of placing apps such as Netflix behind a Xbox Live subscription pay-wall made virtually no sense whatsoever as it forced consumers to pay Microsoft just for the ability to access an app that already had its own subscription fee.

We’re less than a month away from the big video game show at E3 in June which is where announcements like these usually drop. Considering Microsoft has decided to jump the gun and throw these huge changes out to the public in advance it certainly bodes well that the company has other big surprises in store at their annual conference.

© 2014 The Galactic Pillow

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