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Today’s announcement by Microsoft will put the Xbox One in a more intense competition in the console wars. Not only will we see an Xbox One sans Kinect on June 9 for US$399, many apps (Netflix, Twitch, HBO Go, Univisión Deportes, etc.) offered on Xbox Live will not required an Xbox Live Gold account. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has been offering streaming apps without the need of a premium account. Never have we seen Netflix (and also the console’s web browser) under a paid service on Sony’s consoles, but this change will put Microsoft’s console in par with its main rival.
This unexpected change comes from the book of PlayStation 3, back when the original cost of Sony’s console was $600 due to the addition of the PS2 software compatibility and Linux support (two features that were later removed and many gamers still miss it), and a Blu-Ray drive.
So, where is Kinect heading now that it is becoming an optional, premium device? I still see the convenience of Kinect to speak to it for commands in games and media use. The Kinect for the Xbox 360 had lots of success.
However, Kinect 2.0 for the Xbox One will be crossing through an uncertain future, one that will depend on Microsoft and other companies developing titles that work with it.
The new console seems like it will have a better chance to reach a broader audience at $100 cheaper, and that’s most important for the company.
I’m still working on an op-ed (coming soon) about the Xbox One, where you’ll see my thoughts about the present and future of Microsoft’s young console.
[Source]: Xbox Wire: Delivering more choices for fans [http://news.xbox.com/2014/05/xbox-delivering-more-choices].