Depending on what side of the very polarized video game fanatic spectrum you may fall on, you're either hearing a resounding “Yes!” or “No!” in answer to the question the title above poses. The answer, however, may lie somewhere in between, leaving us with this mystery to ponder over for the next month: Why didn't they wait for E3 to make the announcement that the Xbox One will now be sold without Kinect for $399.99? Microsoft made a bold move in making such a major announcement within the month leading up to E3. Should they have waited and tried to steal Sony's thunder at E3; or was this the right call to get people's attention on the Xbox One for the weeks just before the most important video game trade show in the world? Either way, Microsoft is showing a lot of confidence in making this decision. One might assume that an announcement like this would be a show stealer if made during E3, but could Microsoft be saving something even bigger to unleash on June 9th at their E3 press conference? Only time will tell, but it is an exciting eventuality to ruminate over for the next 4 weeks.
Unfortunately, the revelation that Xbox One will be sold for $399.99 starting on June 9th seems to preclude any possibility for a “real” price cut for Microsoft's 8th generation console next month. Fans have been clamoring for a price cut to undercut Sony's $399.99 PS4, but this is not what we are getting. Instead, this announcement today may prove to be an opportunity for Sony to pull one over on Microsoft - like they managed to do deftly last year - by cutting the price of the PS4 at E3. This would get headlines above all else, and this would carry Sony and the PS4 positively into the crucial holiday buying season. For some, the removal of the Kinect may just be what they have been waiting for since they see no use for it; for others, the removal of the sensor device may be a portent to its apparent diminishing importance to the platform. Software developers were assured upon the Xbox One's launch that Kinect would be packed into every box, giving them reason to develop software integrating the device into the gameplay experience. Without this focus on Kinect, they no longer have a reason to produce software for it. On the other hand, there are some who see the device as a waste of time and money, and a reason to mark up the price of the console. Now those people will have little reason to complain about the platform and just may purchase an Xbox One as a result; or they will find a reason to continue to malign and deride Microsoft and Xbox One owners because they apparently have nothing better to do. Either way, Microsoft's decision to remove Kinect seems to run in contradiction to their assertion that the device “remains an important part of our vision.” So did Microsoft show poor judgment in making this announcement now, or did they make the right decision? Everyone is welcome to spout off their opinions over this issue. Will those sitting on the fence about purchasing an Xbox One run out to buy one on June 9th, or will they continue to show reservations? Will detractors continue to find reasons to ridicule the console and its fans, or will they give Microsoft a little credit, for once? No matter what side of the gaming fanatic spectrum you fall on, there is one thing I think we can all agree on: E3 season is an exciting time to be a gamer, and unexpected stories like this keep this hobby of ours fun and entertaining. Did Microsoft make a mistake announcing Xbox One without Kinect