Hardware and Gear

Published on May 21st, 2014 | by gareth


Why a Kinect Free Xbox One Is Still Not Enough To Justify Getting The System.

Microsoft recently announced that it was removing the Kinect from its Xbox One console in a move that will allow them to match the $399.99 retail price of their chief competitor Sony’s Playstation 4. This is just the latest in a series of moves for Microsoft who has seen their system playing catch-up to the phenomenal popularity of the PlayStation 4. The move is the latest in a series of backtracking from Microsoft following the removal of the very controversial DRM that would block the ability to share games and play used games on the system as well as the removal of the highly controversial always on feature. Microsoft has said that by removing the Kinect processing power may be freed up which could allow them to begin to match the graphics and frame rate edge that many cross-platform titles enjoy on the Playstation 4.


While this is definitely a step in the right direction as was the recent announcement of Halo 5, to me it’s still not enough to justify the purchase of the system. When the system was first announced I said that I needed something more than Halo and Gears of War to get excited over. To date, The Xbox One has yet to deliver a title that I would consider a true must. I play TitanFall on my PC with a much higher graphical resolution and frame rate than is possible on the Xbox One, so currently I do not see any advantages to owning the Xbox One.


With E3 around the corner, it is expected that Sony will announce a price drop to $349.99 for the Playstation 4 as well as several new features and exclusive titles. The promise of cloud gaming that will allow gamers to play PlayStation games from the previous consoles is definitely very appealing and if done properly could be a major boost to the already successful system.


So where does that leave Microsoft? In my opinion it leaves them still with the system that is behind in technology and gaming ability as they continue to essentially reverse engineer the system on-the-fly. The Xbox One was built to be an all-in-one entertainment system not a state-of-the-art gaming system. With the recent changes Microsoft continues to strip away some of the perceived advantages of the system because the consumers loudly told them they were not interested or for the most part impressed with these features. Some may call the move an act of desperation as failing to do this would only see Sony increase their lead on a system that has had its share of detractors.


Microsoft is attempting to make the system more accessible and affordable to the gaming public and are hoping that there pending titles will be enough to entice people to get their system a shot. While this is all well and good I still have to wonder about a company that has had to make so many changes to the system in a relatively short amount of time and still finds itself at a disadvantage from a hardware standpoint of its chief rival.


Once again it will be all about the exclusives as E3 is essential for Microsoft is they cannot afford another bad showing like they had previously. Furthermore, another impressive showing from Sony could negate much of the momentum that Microsoft is gained in recent months. In many ways it’s like a gigantic chess match of movement countermoves between the two companies and the goal right now is to generate buzz and excitement over their systems and pending releases to position themselves for the all-important holiday sales system.


While I am impressed that Microsoft has deviated from their usual policies of not listening to consumers and being willing to make changes it would be nice to know that this was done out of respect for the consumer rather than moves made out of the necessity to close the gap between their system and PlayStation 4.


Gamers will flock to the system that they are most comfortable with so in many ways this move was made for the undecided gamers and those reluctant to embrace the more costly system. Time will tell if this ultimately has the long-term impact that Microsoft hopes but for now it is a step in the right direction to improve the long-term popularity and viability of the system.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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