Microsoft has finally announced that they will be releasing an Xbox One without the Kinect for $399!

This is great news to me. I have been an Xbox user in the past and preferred it to the PlayStation, but the One bundled with the Kinect completely turned me off to the Xbox. I am probably still leaning towards a PS4 when I finally get around to buying a new console, but this finally made the Xbox One competitive for me.

What are your thoughts? Are you more likely to get the Xbox One now?

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 05/13/2014 at 07:10pm

Much more appealing now. I recently had the chance to play Titanfall at a friends house, and I was seriously impressed. I love the more stylized FPSs (Halo, TF2, Planetside 2...), and this felt really good, settling any concerns I had over the new controller. Maybe looking into acquiring a One sooner than expected...

I think I used the Kinect on my 360 all of 10 hours since it was launched, so I'm glad they are separating it from the core system.

Travis   Admin wrote on 05/13/2014 at 08:50pm

I'm not more likely to get it, no. Everything that I've seen still makes me prefer the PS4, but this is still great news.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 05/13/2014 at 11:36pm

The price drop is nice for sure. The fact they are not making the connect an integral part of the experience surprises me.

Isn't the Kinect the next gen hot thing that will make everything better for console owners? I mean to imply no snark here, that's a real question. Thing is, I thought Microsoft said it was and it was the future and everyone wants it, they just might not know it yet. Fair point, often times companies are ahead of the curve a bit. Apple did it with flash on the iPhone and even though there were some haters, they were right. Well, since Microsoft is doing this are they wrong?

Maybe I am looking at it strangely. All I know is that it seems like a great feature and the people that have a XBone seem to love the enhanced Kinect stuff so I don't quite understand this. I mean if people don't want the Kinect but want a cutting edge console go PS4 right?

I mean, yay choice I suppose, but this is more confusing for me than anything. With or without a Kinect I don't want to own a XBone, but I really do want to understand the why for this change more than anything.

AdamPFarnsworth   Post Author wrote on 05/14/2014 at 12:27am

Even though the Kinect experience was supposed to be amazing, like you said, there was no way I was going to use it. I had a Kinect with my 360 and almost never used it. My daughter did a little, and sometimes talked me into playing a Kinect game with her, but other than that, I never used it.

The "always on" feature just gave me the creeps. If I could say "Xbox on" and it turned on, then it was always listening to me. I don't think I need a tinfoil hat to protect my thoughts yet, but I do have some paranoia about privacy (Note to Donald Sterling. It's now safe to buy an Xbox One).

Just the fact that it's $100 less is great. I have always preferred the Xbox style to the PlayStation, from controller to games, but I wasn't about to spend $499 on a system when I could spend $399 and have something comparable.

My guess is that I'm not the only one with these issues of privacy and cost, and that's why Microsoft is unbundling.

Those features were also very prominently touted during the Xbox One introduction press conference, and in theory they are very cool. In reality they don't work that well and a big question remains as to whether consumers want them.

Microsoft can theoretically improve these things with software updates, but as Apple has shown with its Siri voice assistant, people might like the idea of voice commands more than the reality.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 05/14/2014 at 12:38am

"Microsoft can theoretically improve these things with software updates, but as Apple has shown with its Siri voice assistant, people might like the idea of voice commands more than the reality."

I think that's pretty true from my use. Siri is nice when I am driving and want to text, I just tap a button and speak into my phone. Yay, saving lives. That said, I never use it beyond that. It's just simpler or whatever to just tap to do what I want, plus I don't have to wait for Siri to think about it and get back to me.

I agree that I prefer the XBox controller better, but I have a ps3 and it's fine, it's just not better. That said, the always on thing is creepy but I have a surge protector on my TV/PS3/Wii and flip it off when it's not on, which is most of the time so the whole "xbox on" thing would never really work for me.

PS if we had "joke of the week" awards on the site, your Sterling joke would win. smile

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 05/14/2014 at 01:38am

My take on why voice operated technology isn't really taking yet, in the consumer space at least, is because of the specific communication that has to happen between the user and the device. While the likes of the new Kinect and Siri are getting better at this, the experience is still...well, like talking to a machine. After the novelty wears off, you realize that you have to speak at a certain volume, sometimes at a certain pitch (try using Kinect with a deep voice) and giving specific commands before the interface recognizes what you are trying to accomplish. It's not personal. The catch with this type of technology is that it is a learning technology. The more you use it, the better it understands. This, in and of itself, isn't the problem. The problem comes when you tie that into a device that has to be connected to a global network where someone else could be listening. Microsoft may have had good intentions with their cloud-based gaming environment and an Xbox that came standard with a high definition camera/microphone that observed its environment 24hrs a day, but when it comes down to it, they scared the shit out of people. We just aren't ready for that. The bigger question might be whether or not we should ever be.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 05/14/2014 at 01:52am

In related news Microsoft also announced that they are not going to require you to have to pay for Xbox Live in order to use apps like Netflix or Hulu. As far as I understand it, the current system essentially makes you pay twice if you want to use something like Netflix: once for Xbox Live and again for your Netflix subscription. Starting in June, that will no longer be the case.

Combined with the Kinect news, this is good news for anyone who was wanting an Xbox. While I will admit both changes make the console much, much more appealing I am still not ready to buy a next gen console. (Although Titanfall does look freaking awesome.)

Travis   Admin wrote on 05/14/2014 at 03:32am

Off-topic from the console discussion, I use Siri all the time. Having Siri set alarms is WAY faster than doing it manually, for example. Actually like 30% of my Siri use is probably setting alarms.

But I have Siri read texts, call people, compose messages, tons of other stuff. She's useful as hell.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 05/14/2014 at 04:17pm

@Travis: Yeah I use Siri to text while I am driving and create certain reminders. Like for when I get home, to do something. That said, I don't. BUT I know many people do and it's great that is works as well as it does.

@WhiteboySlim: The Netflix news is really great actually. Does this apply to the 360 too? If so, it's really about time as it's pretty nuts to make people pay to use a for pay video service when no one else does that.

Missile_Drop_Kick wrote on 05/17/2014 at 02:48pm

I have the XBone. I like the voice commands, it makes navigating around easier. I don't find it useful for gaming at all. I like the integrated Twitch commands though

jdodson   Admin wrote on 05/17/2014 at 05:44pm

Awesome. From the people I've talked to that have it, they love the XBone Kinect.

Which, again, is partly why I don't understand this. I mean, pricing, sure.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 05/17/2014 at 06:40pm

I don't think they like that Sony has been outselling them for the past 4 months. It's another compromise that they didn't want to make (in fact, told us they wouldn't make), but they need the sales.

Either that, or developer support for Kinect has dropped substantially.

Travis   Admin wrote on 05/18/2014 at 05:43am

Scrypt, yeah, that's what I'm imagining. Beyond the $100, there's a group of people (maybe significant, maybe a vocal few) who don't like the potential privacy issues that having video/audio constantly being captured could cause.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 05/18/2014 at 05:16pm

I think sales is probably the biggest reason. The PS4 has been consistently out selling the Xbone. Closing the price gap between the two systems should help Microsoft level the playing field. It's funny just how much the Xbone has changed from it's original unveiling. There isn't much of Microsoft's original plan for the console left.

I'm not sure how developer support for the kinect is since I'm not well versed in Xbox games, but from what I've read online and from the few Xbox games I've seen I've gotten the impression that the kinect was never utilized that much. But again, I don't really know for sure.

The privacy concerns were probably the last thing Microsoft was thinking of when making this decision. Still, privacy advocates win regardless of Microsoft's motivations, so yay!

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 05/18/2014 at 05:51pm

There isn't much of Microsoft's original plan for the console left.

This is probably the most interesting part of all of this. The gaming industry is usually on the forefront of eschewing in new technology, and, be it from a place of ignorance or enlightened objection, this time the customers said "No, thanks!" One would think that Microsoft could have avoided such a disruption with a bit of social awareness, instead of a "Well, go play your XBox 360 then" attitude. I'm not saying anyone else is so much better, but they really stuck their foot in it. This is a great example of why competition is good for the marketplace. Imagine if there was no Playstation 4, and the Xbox One was the default option. We would pretty much just get what we get (e.g. Windows 8).

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