The Big Question: Did Microsoft Make The Right Call With Kinect?

So now that Microsoft has planned to release a version of the Xbox One without Kinect, how do you feel about it? And if you're yet to buy the console — which are you going to choose in the future? Do you prefer an Xbox One with or without Kinect? Did Microsoft make the right choice?

I'm not sure what the right call is. I think the right call would have been travelling back in time and providing the option for the get go, or removing Kinect from the equation completely. That's just me. I actively do not like Kinect and have hardly found it useful since the device was invented.

It's a tricky decision, but I think it had to be done in the end. Thoughts?


    Is the right call ditching the Kinect or bundling it from the start?

    I honestly don't think the Kinect works in a gaming sense. It is really neat technology but if there is a practical application for it, the Xbox is not it.

    They should have made it optional from the start like Sony did. This announcement and the removal of the gold paywall for services makes them sound desperate for the consumers dollar.

    It's not as bad as when they gutted the digital licence system - that had a lot of potential if they'd kept it digital only. But, it is another thing to cross off the list of what makes this box different from a PS4. Hell, it's another thing to cross off that makes it different from a 360.
    Will a cheaper price alone justify that?

      It's not as bad as when they gutted the digital licence system - that had a lot of potential if they'd kept it digital only.

      I think this Kinect announcement, and a bunch of the other backflips they've been making company wide, prove that the potential in the digital license system was probably pretty far from the reality. I mean imagine if at this point the digital license system wasn't working out. It seems pretty likely Microsoft would be standing there telling you to go fuck yourself while they made sweeping changes to the system to bring it more in line with whatever they perceive as the right way to go at that moment in time.
      We can talk about the benefits of the hypothetical system all day long, but at the end of the day I simply don't trust Microsoft to be in charge of it and I don't think I'm being unreasonable. Aside from that look at things like XBOX Music & Video. They really dropped the ball with so many of the features of the XBOX, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 so it doesn't exactly fill me with confidence that they'll bring in a new golden age and become the Steam/Apple Store of console gaming.

        Can't disagree with anything that you've raised there.
        Guess that was an uncharacteristic bubble of optimism that the XBone digital licencing system hitches a ride on now and again. It's normally a fairly solid barrier of grumpy cynicism that stops me from believing in any plans by a company that wants my money.

          Heh, I normally get carried away with the potential of an idea without remembering the people behind it, but at the time it was announced I was dealing with some Games for Windows issues that reminded me that when you deal with Microsoft you deal with them on their terms, and their terms are whatever they feel like on the day.

    Im pro kinect and love it, but i guess its the right call.

      Why was this comment downvoted when you didn't let your personal taste get in the way?

    They made the wrong call I reckon. Either keep it bundled and keep the trust of developers, or not bundle it from the beginning.
    I loved dance central on the 360, but that was the only game the family ever played more than once or twice on the kinect. Everything else gathered dust really fast.

    They might as well discontinue the damn thing now. Keep it for the PC and potential VR apps etc.

    Last edited 14/05/14 11:28 am

    Removing it was definitely the right call. I still won't buy one though. MS have made far too many idiotic decisions with the XBOne, from the Kinect to the ridiculous name, from the always online debacle to the US centric orientation of their media offerings, Microsoft management have utterly failed to inspire any confidence that they have a single clue how they got where they did with the 360.

    I may get one some day, depends on the exclusives, probably. For now I'll keep PC gaming and keeping an eye on PS4 releases.

    Good for gamers, but I feel like it's slightly bad for their image, after going on and on about how Xbox One can't function at all without kinect and how "integral" it was. Well, apparently it isn't, eh...

    What other lies have you told me!? Are you my REAL father?!!!

    I don't understand how this is swaying people toward wanting an Xbox One? Seriously, all this has proved is that anything they announce today will most likely be dumped within 12 months, so anything you buy it for may not exist going forwards. All Microsoft have done to the Xbox One since e3 last year is continually REMOVE features. Where's the improved features?



      Lower prices mean more mums, dads and those undecided (but concerned about price) will get one; I'd say that's a pretty big market.

        So why is anyone on Kotaku excited? Are they all price conscious Mum's and Dad's? Not tech enthusiasts?

          While probably not the same type of people, there are a surprising number of parents in these comment sections.

          The 'casual' types and consoles being bought for kids 'types' that I listed are probably as big a (if not bigger) market than the tech enthusiast buyers. For all the negatives online that get posted about Xbox One, a pretty decent portion of the target audience will have no idea about all the disadvantages because it's not in mainstream news.

          Last edited 15/05/14 10:53 am

    Tough question.

    I had big hopes for this version of Kinect, and while it’s a silly little thing, I could see things like the ability to walk into your lounge room and say “Xbox On” shifting a lot of consoles and creating a good first impression for people who weren’t normally interested in consoles.

    As it turned out though, it’s pretty shit.
    Kinect f*cks up basic functionality that would have been impossible to get wrong on the 360.
    As soon as I turn my Xbone on (the “Xbox on” command still doesn’t work in Australia as far as I know) and it fails to log me in correctly, or when my brother and I stop a Forza session for a beer/ toilet break only to return and find that Kinect has confused us and we’re now controlling the wrong player….. as soon as that stuff happens the (extremely limited) benefits it offers are long gone.

    So I’m not answering the poll because I’m not sure. It has potential for the future but right now MS should have seen that it doesn’t work that well and scaled the scope of its use right back. I don’t know that they got it wrong at launch, but I think they’ve probably got it right at this point.

    If they add an option for developers to disable kinect entirely and it frees up significant resources for the system then I’m 100% in favour of them ditching the thing.

      I agree with this almost entirely. It has great potential, but the best thing about it was people had to have it. If every Xbone shipped with Kinect, developers know that Kinect features are likely to be used. Now that they're stripping it, developers will not take that risk, and we'll be left with "gimmick games", rather than useful integration. Why bother including Kinect functionality now, when all you'll be doing is restricting your audience?

    I think it's the right call, but I think it really cements my original idea that Microsoft didn't really plan the next console and it was rushed out in response to the PS4.

      The fact it barely ever reaches 1080p on its games alone cements that idea I'd say... what you're saying builds iron girders and a bunker upon it turning it into a fortress lol.

      Last edited 14/05/14 1:01 pm

        I imagine that there has been a "Next console" table in their offices for years. But only every few months was an object or post-it note slapped onto the table. Then the PS4 was announced and they're like, "Shit! We gotta get a new console out!". They then spend the next few months quickly putting it all together. Throwing in bad decisions and practises along the way.
        "How do we deal with piracy and traded games? Uhhhh, always online requirment! Yeah!", "How do we make people buy the Kinect? Uhhhh mandatory purchase! Yeah!".

        Also explains why the console looks so plain and unoriginal.

    Its weird, I barely use it but im still glad I have it, just incase some game does decide to have a useful kinect feature. Also I have Kiect Sports Rivals on my pile now. Looks good.

    This will probably help Microsoft ship more units, but now everyones gonna get all "I told you so" about it, and that'll be annoying...

    And for the people that are saying, "I still won't get one, on priciple. They made bad desicions", seriously? How many times does someone have to "apologize" to you? or change for you? before you get over yourself

    I voted "No". Should have kept kinect. Now it will fade into obscurity. Shame.

      They made bad desicions

      Correction: they MAKE bad decisions. What makes you think the XB1 clusterf**k train has come to a halt?

    Well.... On one hand it kind of makes the Kinect of the new generation sort of irrelevant. The tech has less support so there's less likelihood developers will actually accomplish anything interesting out of it. That being said, i bought a PS4 at launch and am thoroughly happy with it but when they announced the kinect was gone as a requirement; i immediately started planning when i could get an XBOX ONE. I guess i saw kinect as an arbitrary addition in the first place with zero value or interest from me as an individual.

    Umm... neither? Their original stance alienated gamers, in the belief that they'd come around, in order to have a consistent platform for developers to utilise. Removing that necessity makes it more attractive to gamers, but effectively eliminates hardware that developers were encouraged to experiment with. I feel like Microsoft painted themselves into a corner by making it mandatory initially, and that there's no real "right answer" that will get them out of it with both gamers and developers happy at the result.

    Edit: typo

    Last edited 14/05/14 11:58 am

      I have yet to see a game that provides a compelling reason for the addition of the Kinect. Most uses have been gimmicky and pointless. 'Build it and they will come' doesn't work when 'it' provides no perceived value over the older method of doing things and comes with a slew of problems that, otherwise, wouldn't exist.

        This ^ I don't think developers will be too put out - aside from Rare and a couple of independent studios - no-one was making any Kinect games for the XBOX ONE, frankly I think multiplatform developers will be happy to not have yet another boondoggle (PS4 touchpad, WiiU screen) to have to spend time and resources on

    I love how MS just keeps shitting on fans.

    * No, you need to pay extra to get this console. There is no cheaper model.
    * Oh hey, we're now throwing in a free copy of Titanfall.
    * Oh, look, a cheaper model. Sux2bu.

    I like the Kinect and I would have bought one anyway if the launch Xbone units didn't bundle it, but it makes sense for them to offer the Xbone cheaper to people who absolutely don't want one, since it really was costing them sales. I'm astonished that's actually true given that I see it as a negligible difference over the entry point if you're looking at either an XBone or PS4, but there you go.

      $100 in USA. 33% more. That's significant.

        Actually it's 25% more ($400 vs $500) and we are not in the US, though Tony Abbott's budget announcements could fool me otherwise. While $100 is an appreciable sum in and of itself, when you have a budget of several hundred dollars for an entertainment product and games/peripherals to accompany it, an additional $100 is still not that big a stretch.

        Furthermore, my perspective was that of the Australian market, and people still agonised over the additional $50 (1/11th of the price of a new PS4) even though launch units not only bundled the Kinect (which you can expect to see on shelves for around $150 if the previous generation is anything to go by) but also included a free digital title (Forza or FIFA depending on region).

          Woops! My math went out the window there. :P You are correct. 25% is significant, but the $50 difference in AU not so much. That free game definitely helped to even it out.

          But the problem remains, that Xbone has a stigma attached to it that's hard to put a price on. "It can't run 1080p" and all the backflipping around every issue have taken their toll on potential customers.

            Oh absolutely, and that is costing them. But I wouldn't criticize them too much for back flipping when it's only in order to meet the demands of would-be consumers.

              It's not that back-flipping that we're pissed about. It's the fact that they were asserting time and again that Kinect was an integral part of the system, where now they've proven that was BS.

                The Kinect was an integral part of their vision for the Xbox One. People didn't like that vision. They got a new one. Things change.

          "Agonized over the $50 difference" - Sony's blatant gouging has been one of the reasons I've held back - $400 is quite a reasonable price to pay for a console (I paid $200 for my 360 but then you add up the cost of hard drive, additional controllers and then Kinect and the price is nudging $600 just spread out) $500 is extravagant but I'll consider that before either $549 or $599

          To me Sony charging a $150 Australia Tax is just baffling - especially since Microsoft was only stacking on $80 plus 2 games! Hopefully this move triggers Sony to adjust their pricing to be more inline with realism (they will only do this if MS bests them in Sales so I won't hold my breath!)

    I think the right call would have been traveling back in time and providing the option for the get go

    This, ill be picking one up as soon as they unbundle Kinect, it should have always been an option from the start.

    Kinect should never have been bundled with the Xbone, IMO. That, combined with their "Never back down, never surrender" attitude with regard to the digital library of games (followed swiftly by 'we back down, we surrender') has left a sour taste in my mouth about the entire console.

    This is just another example of Microsoft forcing a 'feature' on it's customers and then flip flopping when the backlash seems to be leading to an impact on their bottom line (Start menu removal, anyone?). I have no plans to purchase an Xbone, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

    A REALLY good Halo game may change that, but I doubt it.

    I think it was the right call to do Kinect as a package deal at the start, then make it an optional extra as it has been announced. It basically heavily seeded homes with their vision, and the future "reserved" buyers have the OPTION of upgrading now.

    I don't have an Xbone(I have a 360, PS3, PS4, etc), nor Kinect for the 360, but I tried some Kinect games in a library when I went to Melb... and they were pretty cool. As a gamer, I realize that if I want to play Kinect games on the 360, I have to buy the game and the Kinect. It's no different for Xbone. It's also no different for PS4 and I bought Just Dance 2014 and the camera. The developers also know that we get it. The Tony Stark future is still available to everyone if they choose it.

    Let the games commence. =)

    This will just create all of the same issues associated with the previous generation xbox... Kinect will now be relegated to an add on again and wont be core to the experience. Developers wont bother to develop anything for it which will perpetuate the cycle.

    Confusing question is confusing @markserrels

    Did they make the right choice taking it out of the pack?

    Did they make the right choice bundling it with the pack in the first place?

    You might think I'm being anal here man, and I love your work, but this questions a little ambiguous in it's wording...

      Indeed, that is why i did not vote and jumped straight to the comments section.

        To be honest I think it's why the vote seems to be evenly split, not because of actual opinion but possible miscommunication.

    Is it too early to hope for a PS4 price cut?

      That would be the coup-de-grace wouldn't it.

      Microsoft: "Look everyone, here's an XB1 that's the same price as a PS4!"

      Sony: "Actually Microsoft, our more powerful console is cheaper again..."

    I still have Kinect plugged in to my Xbox 360, and still own a couple of Kinect games, but honestly, I never use it. It is nothing but a novelty. All of the games I've played for about an hour before I've got over them. I think the Kinect has interesting/exciting applications in science/medicine, but not videogames.

    Removing baseline capabilities after an initial launch is rarely a good idea. There will now be games that assumed that everybody has a Kinect and use it for some minor functionality, that will not work because the hardware just isn't there.

    That said, I'm guessing it will gain them sales because people looking at the two consoles who have been deciding on the PS4 by default on price may now choose to get an XBox One. In that respect it's probably a "good" decision, but it's a "good" decision that screws over their developer and customer bases.

    Anybody familiar with Microsoft's history as a company will not be surprised by this. Screwing over their developer and customer bases is what they *do*.

    no they didn't. They've doomed the kinect now. The whole idea of bundling the device was so devs knew xbox users had it and could utilise it. Dropping it now without giving them time to work with it and use it to it's potential is a short sighted knee jerk reaction that will pick up some short term sales and hurt them in the long run now that there's no difference to what the ps4 is offering.

    Really stupid move. People saying they don't use the kinect are missing the point that if it's standard with an xbox devs will develop ways to use it knowing it is there. Being optionally means they can't make any real use for the device other wise non kinect users can't play their games. It's stupid and short sighted.

    Last edited 14/05/14 1:40 pm

    So what happens to games that kind of required the Kinect in the past?
    Are they marked clearly (like the purple boxes on the 360)?

    Otherwise new XBOXONE without Kinect owners are going to end up buying games that won't work.

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