Posted: May 16 2014
by: Neal Haworth

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Buy an Xbox One (Without Kinect), Save a Benjamin

Starting June 9, a Kinect-less variant of the Xbox One will be available for $399.99, $100 bucks cheaper than the launch version. Up until now, Microsoft only offered the Xbox One with the Kinect motion sensor. The forced bundle drew a backlash of criticism from gamers and privacy advocates alike, some of whom claim the device could be used to spy on gamers without their knowledge.

Why did Microsoft finally give in to gamers' demands? The Xbox One has struggled to keep pace with the Sony PlayStation 4 since the next-gen consoles were released last year. And according to sales reports released by the two companies, the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One for the fourth month in a row.

One of the attractive selling points of the PlayStation 4 is its $399.99 price tag, whereas the launch edition Xbox One is priced at $499.99. Sure, gamers get the nifty little Kinect tool packaged with their Xbox One console, but is it worth the extra $100? I guess it depends on the games you play and your preferred "style" of play. The fact is that not everyone wants to stand up and make hand gestures in front of their television; they want a simple, on-the-couch gaming experience to unwind and relax after a long day of work.

"To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision. Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console. Some of the most popular voice commands include 'Xbox On,' 'Xbox Broadcast' and 'Xbox Record That,'" wrote Microsoft in a recent article published on their website.

Another strategic move by Microsoft to recapture lost ground in the console arena is to introduction of Games For Gold on the Xbox One. Since Microsoft launched the Games For Gold program on the Xbox 360, over 12 million Xbox Live members have downloaded, and played, free games -- and these aren't cheap indie hits either.

Some of the free Xbox 360 games offered to members through the program include:

  • Hitman Absolution
  • Dead Island
  • Fable 3
  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Crackdown
  • Dead Rising 2
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas
  • Halo 3
  • A World of Keflings
  • Iron Brigade
  • Gears of Wars
  • Shoot Many Robots
  • Dark Souls
  • Dungeon Defenders
  • Deadlight
  • Saints Row The Third

Microsoft will bring Games For Gold to the Xbox One starting June, marking the program's one-year anniversary. The allure of 2 free games a month, along with a $100 price drop, could be the turning point Microsoft needs to regain lost ground in its battle with Sony.

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