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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Reject The Wrecked Decrepit Kinect

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA -  That doesn't actually rhyme.

Apparently, Microsoft is desperate. Why, they're still selling less Xbox Ones than Wii Us, which is a complete failure! Sony got past that point a while ago with the PlayStation 4. So what's up? Why, could it be that Kinect thing that spies on you? The always-online requirements? But those aren't actually a problem anymore, right? (Or are they?)

Well, if the problems DO stem from the Kinect, then good news for everyone: Microsoft is offering, as of around E3 time, an Xbox One for sale WITHOUT the formerly mandatory Kinect add-on! For $400 instead of $500. (Reminder: You can get a Nintendo Wii U bundle for $330 starting May 30, and that's a much better purchase. It comes with all sorts of things instead of making its selling point that it's NOT coming with something!)


Let's make this point: Rare just finished launching Kinect Sports Rivals in April and is updating the game with additional DLC featuring lovable (and also uncared-for) Rare properties as of a few days ago. Apparently there are other properties relying on everyone having one of these Kinect things, and Microsoft maintains it's the best way to experience their console.

Well, consumer choice is a good thing, right? Despite all of Microsoft's claims that the Kinect is the nonnegotiable centerpiece of their new console. Let's see what the trollish analyst Michael Pachter thinks:

“The answer is: [Ex-Microsoft executive] Don [Mattrick] isn’t there anymore. You have a new boss over the Xbox division, who has no skin in the Kinect game, so… Sure they’re gonna unbundle. Not in 2014. They will not change the SKU that dramatically in the first full year. It’s a 2015 event.”
As usual, the man is wrong. You know, because it's happening in 2014, not 2015. Whatever. I don't really care, but it's not like I'm going to write about Super Mario RPG's anniversary. Even if the old guard who made the Kinect their pet project is no longer there, doesn't mean that this is a good idea. Of course, Microsoft is saying "oh this is what the fans want, and we're a good company doing it for the fans." but let's look a step further. For months, years, Microsoft has been saying Kinect = Xbox One. That's created a strong brand perception to both gamers and developers. Now they're toeing a line between "Kinect isn't appealing" and "We have not completely abandoned Kinect" by bringing up mythical friends who have Kinect and comparing them to you, who bought the console without Kinect. You can still buy the accessory separately, which you will do because you're so impressed by your friends! I don't think I personally know a single guy who owns an Xbox One. Maybe one. They don't talk about Kinect. They're not buying Kinect Sports Rivals either. This wish-washy thing is brand confusion! That's bad for developers AND consumers!

Hey, do you think that this was supposed to be an E3 announcement? June 9 is the day Microsoft's conference is at E3. Apparently they're concerned about the time limit this year (unlike last year), so maybe this applause line ("YOU CAN BUY THE XBOX ONE WITHOUT KINECT... TODAY! MWAHAHA!") is one of those pushed things. It's not like they're impatiently desperate, or else you could buy them starting today. Like, May 13.

But you know what you can buy today? An Xbox One with Kinect, the so-called superior experience!


Ludwig is more-than-satisfied with his all-Nintendo current generation of systems, the 3DS and the Wii U. Follow him on Miiverse at NNID: PrinceOfKoopas, and stay tuned to KoopaTV on June 9 and June 10 — not for buying an Xbox One, but for our E3 coverage!

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