Microsoft will next month release a new Xbox One console without Kinect for RRP $499. The new model is due to hit retail stores on 9 June 2014 and will be sold alongside the original Xbox One, including Kinect, which is RRP $599.
Kinect is the the Xbox One’s motion sensor user interface. It is essential for some games as a controller and can also be used to control the broader entertainment options provided by the Xbox One, such as internet connectivity, TV viewing and video streaming. Kinect’s ability to recognise movement even when the Xbox One is not being used has raised significant privacy concerns, sufficient enought for Microsoft to publish an FAQ in what has been labelled a ‘damage control exercise’.
“We built the new Kinect from the ground up with entirely new technology to increase its performance and capabilities,” Microsoft said in this FAQ. “With Kinect and Xbox One you get a new world of games, music, live TV, movies and apps, all personalized to your interests and accessible with the sound of your voice.
“Our approach to privacy on Xbox One is very similar to Xbox 360. This means you will determine how responsive and personalised your Xbox One is to you and your family.”
Essentially, Microsoft advised users that were worried about Kinect infiltrating their lives to adjust the privacy settings or to turn off and unplug the Kinect device. The new Xbox One unit without a Kinect completely alleviates this concern, provided users are happy to forgo the advantages Kinect provides to the gaming and interface experience.
The new Xbox One SKU (stock keeping unit) will continue to deliver all the great Xbox One features, including access to multiplayer on Xbox Live and unmatched blockbuster games like Titanfall, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome and upcoming titles such as Watch Dogs, Destiny and Sunset Overdrive.
You can also access popular entertainment apps, such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide. That’s in addition to the features that already make the Xbox One great, including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload your favourite gaming moments.
Some of the streaming entertainment options mentioned in the second paragraph, such as Netflix, are not currently available in Australia.
For those interested in these sort of things, the new Xbox One will sold in America for US $399, around AU $425 on today’s exchange rate.