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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Microsoft Unbundles Kinect From Xbox One

Microsoft has decided to offer the Xbox One without the kinect accessory for $399. In addition, the company will offer anyone who owns an Xbox 360 or Xbox One access to popular games and entertainment apps without an Xbox Live Gold membership.

Beginning on June 9th, in all markets where Xbox One is sold, Microsoft will offer Xbox One starting at $399. This is a new console option that does not include Kinect. This new new Xbox One offering will continue to deliver access to games like "Titanfall," "Call of Duty: Ghosts," "Forza Motorsport 5," "Dead Rising 3," and the upcoming "Watch Dogs," "Destiny" and "Sunset Overdrive." Users will be also able to access entertainment apps such as Twitch, YouTube, and Netflix, as well as watch live TV and use OneGuide. Finally, users will continue to be able to use many of the features of Xbox One including the ability to get game invites while you watch TV, switch between games and entertainment apps, enjoy Twitch broadcasts, and upload their favorite gaming moments.

Also starting in June, Microsoft will roll out a new set of benefits for its Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One and will offer anyone who owns an Xbox 360 or Xbox One access to games and entertainment apps without an Xbox Live Gold membership. The new generation of Xbox Live

Previously, users would have had to pay a $60 annual Xbox Live Gold membership fee to access these entertainment apps as part of the Xbox Live Gold offering, on top of any service-specific subscriptions.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Games with Gold for Xbox 360, members will receive an additional free Xbox 360 game in June. The Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 in June are "Dark Souls," "Charlie Murder" and a bonus game of "Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition."

Microsoft will also bring Games with Gold to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One in June. Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with "Max: The Curse of Brotherhood" and "Halo: Spartan Assault." A single Gold membership will get users access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Deals with Gold will also launch for Xbox One in June, delivering discounts for games each month, with significant savings for Xbox Live Gold members. The first titles offered in June will include "Forza Motorsport 5," "Ryse: Son of Rome," and a few other. This program will continue to be available for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360. And new on Xbox One, Microsoft will launch a virtual VIP room exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members where it will feature free games, monthly deals, and other benefits.

Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access entertainment experiences, whether or not he/she has an Xbox Live Gold membership. This includes gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Redbull and HBO Go, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One,, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more. Microsoft experiences including Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide will also be available to all Xbox customers.

Microsoft clarified that it would continue to offer a Xbox One with Kinect bundle to deliver voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features.

And for those who may buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide they want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, Microsoft will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall.

Microsoft's move to unbundle the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One console leads to rough price parity with the PS4 and could possibly reset the sales dynamic at retail.

Microsoft said last month that sales of Xbox One had slowed to 1.2 million in the quarter through March, compared to the 3.9 million it sold in the holiday quarter. The total of 5.1 million was behind Sony's 7 million in sales of the PS4. Both launched in November.

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