Touted my Microsoft as a ground-breaking piece of technology and regarded by most gamers as a gimmicky add-on, the Kinect has had its metaphorical umbilical cord cut following the decision to remove the device from the Xbox One bundle. In an attempt to compete with the PS4’s lower price point, Microsoft has had to sacrifice what was once part of the core messaging of the system in order to stay in the game. But it was only a few years ago in the console’s development that the idea was considered to build the Kinect into the console itself.
Hardware designer Carl Ledbetter discussed how Microsoft played around with the idea of making the Kinect a non-removable feature by building it into the console. The main reason the idea was stricken down was key reasons it was stricken down was the impact it had on the console’s aesthetic: “We pushed ourselves, can we put it all in one? Is that going to work? And the technology just isn’t there yet. As soon as you have something much bigger than the Kinect sensor, people don’t want to put it by the TV, it’s too big.”
The decision to make the Kinect a standalone feature is what permitted the team at Xbox to unbundle the console into two different SKU’s: Kinect-less and with-Kinect. The new Kinect-less Xbox One will be available on June 9th (the same day as Microsoft’s E3 conference) for $399.