$399 Xbox One Goes on Sale, Minus Kinect
Microsoft girds for a renewed battle with Sony for the living room by offering a cheaper base SKU of the Xbox One console.Starting June 9 and amid the E3 2014 proceedings, Microsoft is offering the Xbox One, stripped of one of its major features, for $399. It's a price point that matches the cost of rival Sony's PlayStation 4. Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant's Devices and Studios division, said in prepared remarks that his company was "thrilled to offer our fans more choices to play the games they love and to enjoy all of their entertainment with the new Xbox One option for $399." The lower-priced option ships without Kinect, the motion sensor that was previously an integral part of the Xbox One experience. Last year, in a pre-E3 2013 media event at the company's headquarters, Mehdi showed off how Kinect would provide Xbox One owners with advanced voice and gesture control. Built-in microphones enable users to turn on their consoles, search for content and switch modes by uttering commands at the sensor. Users also can use the Kinect's camera to conduct Skype video calls and log onto Xbox Live using facial recognition. That functionality came at a cost. Despite an early sales success, critics slammed Microsoft for shipping a game console with a $499 price tag, $100 more than the Sony PlayStation 4.
The gamble paid off, for Sony. At last count, the Japanese electronics maker reported that it had sold 7 million PlayStation 4 units since its Nov. 15, 2013, launch. The Xbox One, which launched a week later on Nov. 22, 2013, has shipped 5 million units to date.