Microsoft yesterday announced that they are offering a new Xbox One SKU that will not come with Kinect sensor, but starting at a lower price point of $399. While there are many speculations about this move from Microsoft, Xbox marketing head Yusuf Mehdi in an interview to Engadget said that affordability is the issue.
“We have 80-plus million Xbox 360 users today who want an Xbox One, and many of them tell us, ‘For me, it’s an affordability issue. I’m gonna get there, it’s just a question of time. If you make it more affordable, then I’ll upgrade faster.’ So this is an opportunity to really make it easier for them to get there at their pace.”
When asked about whether the sales gap between Xbox One and PS4 is due to price, he said the following,
It’s hard to really assess the gap in sales. They’re in many more markets right now than we are. They’re in 40+ markets, we’re in 13. People have been more satisfied with the Xbox 360 than the PS3, so in that respect people have less of a need to upgrade in the short term due to regular updates for the Xbox 360. We could point to any number of things. That said, we’ve heard from a lot of our Xbox fans who say, “Hey look, I want an Xbox One, but at $499, I probably have to wait a little while before I can afford to get one.” I do think we’re going to get people now who move over, and then buy the Kinect later. So I do think the [price point] broadens the appeal and hopefully brings more people to Xbox One sooner.
Since Kinect was an integral part of Xbox One experience, most of the UI has been optimized with it. Now that users will try to interact with Xbox One without Kinect, Microsoft is trying to optimize the UI for controller based usage.
The Xbox One is designed around voice control. You turn it on with your voice. You open games and browse Netflix and everything else, all through voice. For anyone who’s tried navigating Xbox One without Kinect, you already know the sad truth: it’s a mess. Microsoft is thankfully aware of this issue, and is working on a fix. “We do want to find ways to give you some of those shortcuts and make some of the things that we have with Kinect easier with the controller,” Mehdi said. “You can expect to see us do a bunch of things over the coming months to make the experience easier and easier, even if you don’t have a Kinect.”
Microsoft also revealed that the changes aren’t coming before E3 and “We’re still kind of working through that,” he said.
Read full interview from the links below.