Microsoft Announces Xbox One Without Kinect, Shipping June 9

Microsoft Announces Xbox One Without Kinect, Shipping June 9

Microsoft will start selling its new console, the Xbox One, without the Kinect sensor, eliminating one of the biggest criticisms of the new machine and allowing for a significantly lower cost of entry. The company announced the new plan today on the official Xbox news site.

The new Kinect-free Xbox One will retail for $499 in Australia. The console launched last November for $599, $50 more than the rival PlayStation 4, which did not come with a bundled sensor.

Microsoft had bet that consumers, game creators and titans of industry would all benefit from a console that came bundled with the newest iteration of a sensor array that can react to voice and gestural commands. But with few games making use of the new Kinect in any recommendable away, the sensor had come to seem like a $50 tax with little immediate benefit. The Xbox One's most prominent game, Titanfall, doesn't use the Kinect at all.

Microsoft has released some Kinect-only Xbox One games for the Xbox One, including Kinect Sports Rivals. It's also promoted the use of voice and gesture command to control the system's menus and video-streaming apps.

The plan to release a Kinect-free Xbox One is is yet another radical shift in policy for a company that's made several major changes to its Xbox One plans since the console was unveiled 51 weeks ago at an elaborate event at the company's campus. Back then, then-Xbox chief Don Mattrick promoted a console that required Kinect and was going to require an online connection check to play games. It was going to restrict the sharing of game discs but would offer unprecedented digital sharing of games.

Gamer and media outcry against some of those policies led to a series of reversals just one month later, with Microsoft dropping its online requirements for single-player games, restoring disc-sharing at the expense of removing its innovative digital-sharing plans. But the company stuck by the Kinect concept, possibly due to the original Kinect's multi-million sales and essential revival of the Xbox 360 in the marketplace several years earlier. But the new Kinect appeared to do little to raise the Xbox One's fortunes, instead making the new Xbox costlier than the new PlayStation.

Fifty-one weeks after all of that, Mattrick is at Zynga and long-time Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer now runs the Xbox division. A month into his tenure and Kinect is no longer bundled with the system, no longer bulging the price of the console and likely no longer holding the console back. Developers and entertainment providers will no longer have the peace of mind that all Xbox One consumers will have a Kinect. But they didn't have that on the Xbox 360 either.

We'll have more about this news later today.


    One of the final pieces that Microsoft realises that anything called Xbox will be seen as a gaming console first and foremost before anything else.

    Couldn't imagine my Xbone without kinect now, voice commands make things so much easier.

      Just out of interest, which commands do you find you use the most?

        Xbox record that gets a flogging, xbox go to skype, xbox go to (insert game/app) , xbox snap internet explorer, xbox snap party, xbox switch, xbox mute and finally... xbox stop listening ;)

          Truth be told though, the only reason the kinect voice commands work so well is because the interface is so terrible.

            You nailed it. Voice commands don't work that great for me either though

          Is it possible to record just using the controller?

            You'd have to snap Game (Main button to dash, select snap, wait for load, select game DVR, select End Clip now, select 30sec-5min, press A, wait for load) not ideal in the heat of battle.

            Last edited 14/05/14 8:22 am

            it is, but because it involves using the controller, you will find the last 15 seconds of your video are of you just standing there as it takes so god damn long to navigate the UI.

          You lost me at "snap internet explorer" :)

            I only use internet explorer for Pandora music, there is no other way to play and have music playing without 'something' snapped.

              And fair enough to. When you gotta browse you gotta browse. WISH it wasn't with IE! :)

                Internet Explorer - The most popular browser to download another browser.

        It will be highly amusing if they don't do anything to change logins. Anyone who doesn't use Kinect had to manually login to the console, the auto login is via face. Easiest easy to login otherwise is by voice.

          I wish I could set auto log-in as I'm the only person that uses it.

            I find I login by voice more. As I usually want to login while I'm not standing out sitting in front of it.

              Oh how do you do that? Yea 10% of the time I'm not in the right spot for it, then I manually login in and halfway through doing that it finally reads my face and logs me in FFS

                Say "Xbox log in as Black Dahlia NZ (or whatever your name is on the xbox - not your GT but what you are known as on your xbox).

      I have not used my Kinect even once since launch day, I even skipped the setup process for it on first boot, and have absolutely no desire to use it at all.

        At least this means you'll be able to get a few bucks selling it second hand. Previously it would have been pretty worthless since everybody had one out of the box. Now there might be people who are interested but looking to pick it up cheap instead of paying the brand new price.

        I used it at the start. Then for some reason (I suspect it was due to friends dicking around) it started to degrade and understand me less and less until I gave up and haven't touched it since.

    Seems strange. I'm on the fence with buying an Xbox One and this doesn't sway me into buying one. I mean, sure a price drop is always welcome, but removing kinect makes me think that the devices overall use will drop and drop and drop. To the point where simple voice commands don't work in every game. I mean why would devs put the effort into Kinect content when they can't be assured everyone has it?

      Microsoft clearly have no balls, no conviction, and would rather abandon it, Sony style, than put the effort into fixing it.

      I won't be holding my breath to see anything fixed or improved, just like every other optional camera accessory.

    The Xbox One OS is pretty terrible without Kinect's voice commands. They better simplify it with easier menus way to find stuff with only a controller.

    *checks own posts from last E3 and xbone launch*
    *checks watch*
    Well. It's a hard job being so damn right all the time, but someone's gotta do it. I expect my Internet award ceremony invite will be along shortly.
    *twiddles thumbs optimistically*

    This news disappoints me. I need something to distinguish my xbone from my PS4 besides black crush and worse FPS/resolution. Well hopefully swery's D4 will still have its wacky kinect controls intact.

    I am probably alone in waiting to get xbox one / kinect until fantasia comes out....

      Nope. Fantasia looks like it might make having a kinect worthwhile. Im waiting for that one too.

        Just wait for it to be changed to not require a Kinect. What incentive is there to make games for an optional accessory?

    After having my one for a while it does seem weird for me to have the system without the kinnect. People may complain about it but I did enjoy it.

    Holy shit. This could be huge if they manage to undercut Sony in price here as well.

      Im on the fence with xbox or playstation. A price difference could be enough to sway my decision to jump to xbox. But im really holding out for the uncharted sequel.
      Its not easy being a gamer.

      Last edited 14/05/14 8:06 am

        Wait till after E3 you should know by then which games are coming and which console you are more excited about.

        Well you have Last of Us remastered coming for PS4.

      @croze they have, the article says $499 AUD!!

        I think EB selling xbox ones with forza and Titanfall for only $599? If these 2 are still included at the lower price it will be a good deal but I doubt it.

        I'd expect Sony to drop to $499 pretty quickly in response to this - it should have been that price all along, but they obviously felt they could help themselves to an extra $50 per unit and still undercut MS. And, considering how well it has sold, I guess they were right. But I can't see them letting MS have that price advantage.

          I can see Sony dropping the price of their console to $499 to pretty much match the Xbox One price and then see how the market goes.

          Hold on to your socks for the re-imagined version in 3-6 months which comes with a sexier form-factor and upgradeable hard-drive slots.
          I'm like the nostradamus of this bullcrap or something.

            Do you mean upgradable as in Microsoft will sell me a 250gb drive for 300 dollars or upgradable as in take off the side and chuck in whatever drive I want?

            These predictions need to be specific :p

              Nah, I meant Sony's come-back to any fresh-console price-war with MS. People complained about the non-upgradeable hard-drive in the PS4, it'll be Sony's opportunity to re-release for sales surges, with probably not much extra overhead since last I heard they're still selling out all the machines they manufacture.

                But the PS4 hard drive IS upgradeable. First thing I did with mine when I bought it was stick a 7200 rpm 1 Tb drive in it.

                  Hm... what was it people were complaining about then? The default size, perhaps? Lack of external storage support? Whatever it was, that's what I reckon they'll tackle in their version 2.0.

                Maybe lack of support for media playback off USB? In fact lack of media playback off any drive, internal or external.

    This may seem like good news on the surface, but my guess is Micro$oft's gonna do their typical douchebag thing, and announce a bunch of awesome new games that every gamer will have to have, and will only work with Kinect.

    "What's that, you want a Kinect? That'll be an extra $150 - $200 thanks." Thus making it even more expensive than it was before.

      I'm sure you'd sell your unused one for $100 to ease their burden ;)

        I wonder how they will package them. They have about $1 million in chains and warehouses (a solid guess), is this sku going to be freshly manufactured and boxed or are the old ones going to have linear ripped from the box? Interesting.

      Honestly I doubt it. My understanding was that by forcing everyone to have the kinect there would be more encouragement for devs to make games for it. So far hasnt happened. My guess is it will be at least 3 or 4 years before anything truly worthwhile is available for kinect and by then we will have VR anyways.

        The reason it hasn't happened is because there isn't a good use for motion control in most games. If you aren't forced into shoe-horning in some use of it out of contractual obligations/financial incentives, you won't use it unless you really think it provides an improvement and the sad fact is that motion control is pretty shit, and there are very few areas where it is an actual improvement. The wii kind of proved that for years.

          Yeah thats a fair point. Personally Im not into motion gaming as Im a lazy piece of shit but i was hoping for a game that we never imagined was possible until this amazing technology arrived. Sadly though, this has not come to fruition after over 3 years, no matter how many times i was the spielberg address on youtube.

      How is that their typical douchebag thing? Want a Kinect, get the Kinect package.

      The douchebag thing here would be to abandon it and stop improving it, like every camera accessory before it.

    This was the one policy that i thought they were going to stick to. Dont get me wrong, the kinect 2.0 so far has been as big of a let down as kinect 1.0 but the potential down the road if everyone had one could have been huge.
    All this move tells me is that they got the Xbox one so soooo wrong at conception, and now they are backtracking furiously trying to catch up to the competition, but i wonder is it too late? So far i have been extremely unimpressed with the Xbone and am waiting till the end of the year for things to get better before I rid myself of it.

      The Xbone had potential to differentiate at concept. Now they're furiously trying to turn it into a playstation with less power.

        Thats what gets me the most i think. The fact that they had these great plans and now just copying the competition.

          Unfortunately no matter what they do at this point, they can't make up for the power gap, and since they don't want to differentiate, why would anyone buy a kinectless Xbox One when they could buy the PS4?

            Absolutely spot on. Maybe they could do what the N64 did and release an "Expansion Pack" that adds another GPU or something. :P

      kinect 2.0 so far has been as big of a let down as kinect 1.0 but the potential down the road if everyone had one could have been huge.

      On the current course, you'd have been repeating this (with version iterations) to the grave.
      Let it go. That potential was NEVER going to be tapped. Ever. The nature of the medium makes it impossible. The potential was a mirage, it never existed in the first place.

      If the wii couldn't effectively tap the potential of motion control over almost 8yrs of mandatory usage, what makes you think kinect could? At its very core, for the overwhelmign majority of gaming, motion control is both shit and pointless. Between lag, the lack of tactile feedback, and a psychological disconnect similar to the principles behind the uncanny valley (see Extra Credits for an in-depth explanation:, it's just not a great idea for games.

      At best, it serves as a semi-useful gimmick for voice-control OCCASIONALLY, when you use your 'kinect voice', IF it works. (See any initial reports on the kinect.) The only reason you don't still see rants about the uselessness of it is because people have adapted to its flaws. "People have adapted to its flaws!"

      People hang on to the whole 'if only X conditions could be met, it might meet its potential!' idea as a form of loss aversion; sunk cost fallacy at its finest, to justify the expenses to Microsoft and its customers.

        I doubt it. This was MS last chance for me. One the current course, Ill be console free by years end. But your point is a good one, I dont disagree.

        Look, I'm pissed at them dumping it, but besides login by face, I only use mine for voice commands and was looking forward to the future of voice. Jumping around waving your hand isn't the only thing this could do.

        Last edited 14/05/14 9:46 am

          The problem with the voice thing was highlighted pretty well with Kinect integration in Mass Effect 3 ( Cool when it worked, which was apparently one in every three commands, repeated in that robotically-precise (and immersion-breaking) 'kinect voice' to make sure it was understood, and even then only by American accents.

          God forbid you live in any of the other 194 countries in the world. With the hassles of testing to get it any better than that, you're looking at weeks and even months delay in activating that functionality for internationals (if they even both), and that's just basic voice. Which many folks wouldn't have been comfortable with doing anyway, out loud in the living rooms with neighbouring apartments or whatever.

          There are some 'neat' things that could be done as optional extras - and still can be, it's not like they're discontinuing kinect. I mean the base model did sell shitloads enough and have successful custom wide-motion games enough to prove there's A market. The key is differentiating between a market and ALL markets. It was a dumb move to try force something where it wasn't needed or wanted and hope it would be embraced for its... lack of usefulness?

          The game-changing revolution that showed us all the ways we'd never even thought was possible? Was never going to happen ONLY because everyone had one. When has revolutionary innovation ever relied on knowing that it would be used by everyone? It was a very weak excuse. Innovation is best when it is inspired by creativity, not obligation.

          So if the game-changing eureka moment is ever going to happen and change everything about games as we know it, it WILL still happen. It won't depend on the knowledge that 'everyone has kinect, so we might as well spend time on it'. It will be done because, 'Guys, I thought of this fucking amazing thing, we HAVE to do this," and everyone will buy the kinect because the idea is so damn fucking cool.
          The wii didn't blitz the gaming market because Nintendo knew everyone wanted to play party games together with motion controls. It did something it wanted to do, took everyone by surprise, and they bought it. You can't force it to work the other way around.

            Sorry but history shows that once Microsoft half arses something, they are too big of a slow moving monolithic corporation to ever improve it. They're more likely to dump it and release a new camera accessory with less features with a snazzier name than significantly improve Kinect now.

            Microsoft is a company of great ideas crushed by fears of shareholder reaction.

        On the current course, you'd have been repeating this (with version iterations) to the grave.
        Let it go. That potential was NEVER going to be tapped. Ever. The nature of the medium makes it impossible. The potential was a mirage, it never existed in the first place.

        Fable: The Journey was a good game dragged down by technical limitations of the first Kinect. As an XBOX One game it would have worked. There were plenty of motion control games on the Wii that worked. There was a lot of gimmicky junk and great games ruined by shoehorned in motion controls, and the console itself was a turn off for serious developers and traditional gamers, but while the overall motion control Wii revolution was a failure there was plenty of success there.

        I agree with most of what you're saying as a judgement of motion control in general, the tactile feedback thing is super important, but you're assuming the Kinect could only find value as the sole interface option for a game. What made the Kinect different from the Move and Wii remote is that it was an optional secondary input that doesn't interfere with the primary controller input unless the developer chooses to. I'm not a huge fan of motion controls but that's why I like Kinect. It's not all or nothing.
        That's why having one in the box was important. It allowed developers to approach it on their terms where appropriate, experiment with it and use it when they think it would benefit the game without being forced to make it a "Kinect" game. I was really hoping the Kinect would let us get past the "OMG! Now we can have 1:1 sword fights, even though that doesn't work without feedback!" phase and into more creative exploration of the tech.

        Also as a UI control its already functioning well. The XBOX One's OS is the letdown there. In retrospect I think the bulk of the early complaints come from the fact that people were trying to go somewhere with it without realising there was nowhere in the OS to go. It's like a smartphone that can only make calls. You look at it and think 'why would I take a fragile touch screen over dialing with physical buttons'. If the XBOX One launched with the media player functionality of the XBOX 360 I think the Kinect would have got a better reception.

    hmm, not sure if i want a Kinect free one or not

      If they drop awesome games you like, yes, kinectless xbox one is good. If not it is only a weaker PS4 without that camera. The camera is it's real point of difference.

      Last edited 14/05/14 9:37 am

    But I thought that Kinect was so integrated into the Xbox One that it couldn't possibly operate without it?

      You have to manually login without it every time you turn it on, and plenty of OS actions will take up to six steps, when they are one step by voice.

      The console is pretty awful without Kinect.

    seriously. the Kinect works awesome for voice commands. seems like a shame that they would remove it from the package. It's quite integrated into the system.

    Only a $50 reduction in price? (The bone seems to be selling everywhere for $549) They sell the windows version of the new kinect for $300....

    Last edited 14/05/14 9:11 am

    Ha, they've proven that we can't take them seriously. I don't think a $50 discount in Australia - even with a free Titanfall - will do much. Sony can just as easily drop AU price by $50 and laugh all the way to the bank.

    MS (much like another big company) has cornered itself in the market and it'll have spend a lot of money to improve the situation.

      The Xbone is still selling pretty well, to be fair.
      They won’t win this generation, but then they’ve NEVER won a generation.

      I’m pretty sure both Sony and MS will turn a healthy profit by the time this gen is done, even though short of some kind of hectic wheeling and dealing over the next year or so (think Half-Life 3 and GTA VI being Xbone exclusive or something stupid like that) then Sony should finish well ahead.

        short of some kind of hectic wheeling and dealing over the next year or so
        Titanfall was supposed to come out on all platforms. Shortly after initial announcement/leaks, MS gained exclusivity. That's the kind of "throw money at a problem" things they will need to do to remain competitive.

          They will need to spend money, but you should be aware that’s how everybody fixes everything though.

          Sony have far more 1st/2nd party development studios than MS, particularly since MS were happy to let Bioware and Bungie go elsewhere.
          That’s Sony throwing their money at exclusive games too, it’s not MS being a particularly evil conglomerate when they buy the exclusive rights to something like Titanfall.

          Sony’s online service was much worse than XBL 5 years ago? What did they do? FREE GAMES and lots of them. That’s them throwing money at a problem and it’s good for gamers. As far as I’m concerned, if a developer can put together a title so good that a company like MS (or Sony) is happy to pay them enough that it’s fiscally advantageous to them NOT to release it on other formats, then that’s good for the developer and probably good for the industry.

    Now I won't have to miss out on Sunset overdrive ^^

    Call me weird but I just don't like the idea of something I own being able to monitor me.

    Last edited 14/05/14 9:22 am

      You're weird.
      Every single person on the planet has something better to do that watch you.

      Seriously though, I covered my Kinect up every time I was doing something “private” for the first few months and then stopped caring.
      It is ominous having the all seeing eye watching you at first.

        Are people really paranoid enough to think the NSA wants to watch a whole heap of fat nerds jerking off in front of their TV?

          put so eloquently i love it

          Think of it as you moved your bedroom around, then when you go to sleep you notice that the blinds don't fully close and the streetlight can be seen at just the right angle from where you lay your head in your bed. That light is constantly in your eye. Yes, you can ignore it, but that light is still staring at your eye.

        "I covered my Kinect up every time I was doing something “private” for the first few months and then stopped caring."

        I think an NSA director just climaxed.

    Yea when I found out my cellphone and laptop had a camera I smashed them with a hammer...

      I think the original concern was that it was watching you all the time. Your phone isn't recording you when you are say surfing the internet or playing angry birds.

      Also Microsoft Patented a tech that would allow them to film you while you watched a movie so they could find out if you had more than the allowed amount of people watching and i'm assuming sell you additional viewing licenses per person in the room.

    It must suck for the lead designers of the Xbone to have had this overarching plan for the machine that got shit on, torn apart and then shit on some more.
    The Xbone we saw at E3 last year that was online only, mostly discless and had mandatory kinect is a long way from the machine we have now.

    I must say, while I was all aboard for discless, always-on gaming at the time, having seen the way the Xbone’s launch has gone and the myriad of server errors that have plagued too many games (Battlefield, Trials Fusion) I’m glad they ditched the plan.
    The ridiculous cost of downloading games from the Xbone store is a big turn off for me too, why the hell is a game $20+ more to download on launch day than it is to sell it through a store? Greed, that’s why.

    Now Kinect is gone too, having been something I was optimistic about but which (in its current state) actually makes gaming worse. “Record that” is the only command I ever use, and Kinect manages to f*ck shit up which was previously impossible to f*ck up.
    I’ve had the system fail to login or take ages to login with no option to automatically do it (if my Xbox is turned on it’s me 99% of the time)
    I’ve had Kinect confuse users between races on Forza and switch users on the controllers.
    I’ve had it fail to recognise what I tell it 30% of the time.

    I guess I would have bought an Kinect at launch even if it was optional given how hard MS were pushing it at the time, but since it wasn’t and I was forced to pay for it, I’m really hoping that they continue to support it going forward. Although I’m also happy that they will be doing more to allow the Xbone to operate without it.

      I've started changing my region to US and buying digital games, usually come in at about $72NZD digital or about $120NZD from EB, by my calc thats about $66AUD?

      I really liked the idea of being able to buy a cheaper game from the shops, activate it, never need the disc again and launch it by voice.

      I'm growing more and more certain with every piece of gaming news about the next-gen consoles that these were meant to be released Christmas 2014, but thanks to leaks and rumours and industrial espionage 'chinese whispers', people in power panicked and forced a 2013 release instead.

      This is why there were almost no launch titles other than indie crap and some stuff that felt rushed/too short/shallow, the dashboards were shit, day-one multi-gigabyte patches, complete PR messaging failure on announcement, and backpedalling on ideas which obviously hadn't been focus-group tested, and kinect voice wasn't available on launch for many regions.

      These consoles needed another year in the oven. Last gen dominance was very firmly decided for a long time purely by who got a year's head-start, and the bigwigs on both sides were terrified of being the ones to let that happen to them this time.
      "Can we do 2013?"
      "No! Well, theoretically, but--"
      "Do it."

        Hmmmm… I’m not so sure.

        I think Sony always intended to hit Christmas 2014 and MS got thrown off by the negative initial reactions to their machine and ended up way behind schedule because they had to make so many changes.

        They had 7+ years to prepare for this generation and the market was well and truly due for new consoles in 2013, I just think that neither company did a good job of getting ready.

        You might be right though, MS are STILL playing catch up trying to get basic functionality onto their machine over 6 months after launch.
        I’ve whinged about it a million times, but the fact that I still can’t play a custom soundtrack (a launch feature on the ORIGINAL Xbox) says it all about the state of the Xbone.

          It may only be Microsoft that wasn't going to be ready til this year, and they know what the 2006 year-of-the-360 did to the more-expensive PS3 for years afterward, then realized the roles were about to be exactly reversed if PS4 was ready for prime-time and cheaper (tick both boxes there).

    Pay $100 less and get less features that make it a different product from its competitors (and their own previous console).
    Hold me back.

    I think we are yet to arrive at control nirvana. Motion detectors should be used subtly with traditional controls rather than it being an either/or kind of thing. A racing game where tilt would give you a fraction off the corner for example. The removal of this hardware shouldn't limit experimentation, but makes it less likely. :(

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