Microsoft has announced some big changes to its Xbox One platform this morning, chiefly the decision to drop Kinect as a requirement for purchasing an Xbox One. Starting today, consumers can buy an Xbox One without Kinect for $399, and it ships on June 9. That's a huge change in philosophy for the platform.
"Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you," said the company in a blog post. "Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build. Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we've delivered since."
The company is expanding its Games with Gold program, too. First of all, it's now subscription-based, which means you'll need to continue paying for Xbox Live in order to keep playing the games the service offers. This is similar to Sony's approach with PlayStation Plus. Dark Souls, Charlie Murder, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition will be available next month on Xbox 360, while Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault become available on Xbox One.
Xbox Live will also provide players with steep discounts on released games, ranging from 50-to-70 percent off "certain" titles. Microsoft name dropped Ryse: Son of Rome and Forza Motorsport 5 as games that should receive this treatment next month. Microsoft is also launching a "VIP room" for Gold members with "free games, monthly deals, and other great benefits." Again, Microsoft appears to be taking cues from Plus.
Additionally, users are no longer required to have Gold to access a number of popular applications, including Machinima, Twitch, Upload, Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV, HBO GO, NFL, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center, Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide. Finally.
I'm going to credit all these changes with the video I made last week, naturally.