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Microsoft's Also Making Changes to Xbox Live

You no longer need Gold for Netflix and other apps, and Games with Gold is expanding.

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.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Edited by Max_Antrax

microsoft is sure changing alot before E3, wonder what they will have at E3.

Posted by SongWriter1987

And another xbox 180, jesus...

Edited by Corvak

Announcing: The new Xbox 360

In reality, its the new boss basically saying "what are you idiots doing? I'm fixing this crap."

Jeff has been on twitter lamenting the loss of the mandatory Kinect..and I guess it sucks for devs, but Patrick's video shows me all I need to know i'd just give up and use a controller anyway.

Posted by patrickklepek

microsoft is sure changing alot before E3, wonder what they will have at E3.

I'd say these changes are to get people excited for E3. Microsoft doesn't have to waste much time with this news at the show itself, and can focus on games. Hopefully.

Staff
Posted by Max_Antrax

@patrickklepek said:

@max_antrax said:

microsoft is sure changing alot before E3, wonder what they will have at E3.

I'd say these changes are to get people excited for E3. Microsoft doesn't have to waste much time with this news at the show itself, and can focus on games. Hopefully.

Let's hope.

Posted by Deathdealer108

These all seem like pretty good changes. I am really happy Microsoft is expanding Games with Gold. There has been some good games like Dust, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs so far. But compared to Sony's offerings it has been paltry.

Posted by MEATBALL

All thank our lord and savior Patrick Klepek! Can we get a Patrick Klepek "CHANGE" poster?

For real though, good to see Microsoft implement these changes. Gold is definitely sounding a more attractive proposition.

The one thing I'd take issue with is that I feel like Sony's typical extra discount of 10% for Plus members on sale items (and often new release indie titles) seems like a better system than exclusive sales for Gold members (though this is partly because I'm assuming that this'll result in Microsoft just making most big discounts suddenly Live subscriber exclusive).

Posted by df

Patrick will be remembered as the person that put both Xbox One DRM and Kinect to bed single-handedly (citation needed)

Posted by Kieran_Smith5

@patrickklepek: I wonder what the price of the Kinect will be? Odds are they won't sell it for $99.00. Will be very interesting to see how they position the price.

Edited by bslayer

This is great news and Patrick's right, now their e3 can be full of games like last year. I think it's a smart move and Phil Spencer likely had something to do with it.

Posted by starfurydysan

I'd like to hear from the perspective of game devs on the subject because the story was that having Kinect with every Xbox One made it more likely for game devs to use it or develop. Is it a failure of the game devs not being creative, the market not wanting/getting it, or what?

Posted by nickhead

So the apps not requiring gold...does that translate to 360? And does that start today?

Edited by LucidDreams117

Sweet. This sounds awesome. Ive always praised Xbox Live over PSN and still do when it comes to playing online. But Plus has always the best value, bar none. Glad to see Microsoft picking up their shit. And all this before E3? I'm really excited for next month.

This seems like Phil coming in as new head and just knocking some sense into the Xbox team. I'm sure the PS4 sales weren't helping.

Posted by Solh0und

This makes me excited for E3 again. It's going to be a sloberknocker!

Edited by xyzygy

Very impressed with Microsoft for listening to people who said they didn't want the Kinect. To be honest I think I will still buy the version with Kinect when I get mine because the voice controls are cool, and I find they worked really well whenever I tested it out.

But I am very, VERY impressed with the removal of the paywall and the expansion of Games with Gold. Just gotta make sure to have Gold at the time of the offer. Very impressed indeed!

I feel like this is the beginning of MS coming back in the eyes of many. Kind of like how Sony did last gen.

Edited by AndrewB

If they can match the value of PS Plus and drop the Golden Gates for basic apps, that only still brings them to parity.

I'm miffed that I bought an Xbox One and now every single possible differentiation between it and the PS4 is now gone or depreciated, save for the one thing I already hated - boatloads of cash to secure exclusive games (and in that realm, Microsoft seems to be spending more to dabble in original video content rather than video games, but I'll wait until E3 to pass judgement).

Parity can't make up for the fact that we're early in a generation with weak hardware. The only reason I begrudgingly own a console in the first place is because some games just don't find their way to PC, but with the PC going strong into this new generation and both Sony and Microsoft allowing the PC to remain the neutral platform, I'm just about ready to bail on the console market even if that means missing out on the odd console exclusive.

Edited by thatdutchguy

You needed to have Gold to use Internet Explorer and skype too ? Damn son.....

Posted by AlexGBRO

@patrickklepek: yeah games, games, games at e3 but it could have been ms moment to say at e3 "one more thing ... 399$ from today"

Posted by TheSouthernDandy

This is great, hiding those apps behind a paywall for so long has been one of the worst things about the service. Also good they're stepping up on the games department, Sony's been whooping their butts on that front for a while now.

Edited by Lausebub

I love competition in the marketplace.

Posted by Lyfeforce

Well, that answers my question!

Edited by xyzygy

@alexgbro said:

@patrickklepek: yeah games, games, games at e3 but it could have been ms moment to say at e3 "one more thing ... 399$ from today"

That would be just dramatic and unnecessary. Why not just tell everyone now before E3 and then focus on games? I'm personally glad they got this out of the way cuz games.

@andrewb said:

The only reason I begrudgingly own a console in the first place is because some games just don't find their way to PC, but with the PC going strong into this new generation and both Sony and Microsoft allowing the PC to remain the neutral platform, I'm just about ready to bail on the console market even if that means missing out on the odd console exclusive.

Hm, I don't get why you'd just bail on the consoles that you already own for PC when you say that certain games you like can only be playable on a console. If you like a game and you own the console and it's not for PC, why not just get it?

Edited by whatisdelicious

@patrickklepek said:

@max_antrax said:

microsoft is sure changing alot before E3, wonder what they will have at E3.

I'd say these changes are to get people excited for E3. Microsoft doesn't have to waste much time with this news at the show itself, and can focus on games. Hopefully.

Good point. Plus, this isn't exactly so much of a feel-good, standing ovation announcement as much as "you're finally not charging me twice for services I already pay for." Much better to leave E3 to game announcements.

Edited by Devise22

@alexgbro said:

@patrickklepek: yeah games, games, games at e3 but it could have been ms moment to say at e3 "one more thing ... 399$ from today"

That isn't a good thing for them. You don't come out on a stage and publicly announce you were wrong about the Kinect and your price point when you launched. That isn't the type of news that you leave for a big press conference. Trust me Microsoft would much rather they don't have to make the price change and remove Kinect, but the market place tells a different story.

Although I do agree with Patrick that this hopefully means E3 is filled with more about games. Microsoft has a lot of work to do with first party titles that look meaningful these days. The years of them relying on Call of Duty, Gears of War and Halo are over. Show us something we can rally behind, something fresh, and I'm on board.

Posted by TheBetman

Man, even with this price drop I'd still rather get a PS4 at the same price and not be missing half of the features of the console.

Edited by Fushichou187

The megaton here is actually in the fine print of their announcement [LINK]:

"On Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you've downloaded"

Hopefully the "rent not own" model that MS is adopting (just as PS+ has had from the start) means more leverage when negotiating with publishers to secure a better selection of games for its Gold subscribers.

Edited by White

Wow. Xbox did a 180 and another 180. Is this the new Xbox 360?

Posted by pslayer666

Free Internet Explorer? Things are about to get reeeeeeeeeeeeal crazy then !! :P

Posted by konig_kei

Internet Explorer going F2P, you heard it here first.

Posted by Wrighteous86

The megaton here is actually in the fine print of their announcement [LINK]:

"On Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you've downloaded"

Hopefully the "rent not own" model that MS is adopting (just as PS+ has had from the start) means more leverage when negotiating with publishers to secure a better selection of games for its Gold subscribers.

Well Dark Souls and Super Street Fight IV are already improvements on the original Gears of War and Kingdom for Keflings...

Posted by xX_Kells

@andrewb: I don't believe the weaker hardware is ingrained in the masses so much as much as enthusiasts like ourselves would believe. The public will see $399 and those still sitting on the fence might be persuaded to finally take the dive.

Posted by BoringK

I let my Gold subscription lapse for the first time in almost seven years LITERALLY YESTERDAY.

Posted by EXTomar

It was ridiculous that I could get Netflix on my Samsung TV easier than either the 360 or xbo.

Online
Posted by ArsenalFan

This is good news even beyond the benefits for the consumer - these announcements show that people who know what they are doing are in charge of the Xbox One, and a more competitive Xbox One can only be good for the industry.

Posted by Clonedzero

This is great. Competition! Microsoft trying to beat Sony is only good for us. So hell yeah, microsoft keep it up.

Let them keep fighting each other. I'll eventually buy one of the new consoles and this is only good for me as a consumer.

Edited by SuperSonic1305

Gamers want PS4 so we decided to make Xbox One like PS4.

Posted by spraynardtatum

Finally, they fixed the dumb thing!

Xbox One is now palatable.

Online
Posted by AV_Gamer

Sadly, this won't make much of a difference. People now see how the PS4 offers true Next-Gen ability by out performing the Xbox One with its design specs. And the system is cheaper.

So people are logically choosing the cheaper yet more powerful console and the PC. Turns out Microsoft was wrong on everything; People don't want always online. People don't want Kinect integration. And people don't want to use their video game console to watch TV. They just want to play video games.

Posted by whitegreyblack

@alexgbro: I look at it as MS wanting people actually wanting to buy the system at a competitive price *before* E3 so the games can put the purchase decision over the top. E3 is going to be a hum-dinger this year, so long as both Sony & MS actually have good exclusives to show off. If there are mainly multi-platform games to be had... yikes.

Posted by subyman

OH wow, I never realized Internet Explorer was behind the paywall. How completely idiotic.

Posted by Anwar

Getting Dark Souls and SF4 AE if you have XBL is pretty awesome

Edited by csl316

Now I'll be convinced to pick one up for exclusives. But the PS4 became my primary console this gen due to its lower price early on.

Hurrah for competiton benefitting consumers!

Online
Posted by Ponyexpress

Patrick Klepek, games business baller, shot caller.

Posted by kalos

@nickhead:

Popular entertainment apps will be available for all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners... Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access popular entertainment experiences - whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. --xbox.com

Posted by CABBAGES

Kinect is utter shite.

Voice dosnt work 90% of the time and the tv stuff here isn't even available yet so whats the point.

They should be offering a partial refund for people that the voice is useless and also where all the tv shit isn't available.

Posted by mrfluke

WOW, Phil Spencer bringing in some huge changes, its a real fight now.

Edited by mrblobby64

Free Dark Souls? Well now I can test out my "the best Souls game is the first one you played" theory.

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