Microsoft has finally caved, and in a move that will undoubtedly be a big sales boost for the Xbox One, slashed a massive 20% ($100) off the price, creating parity with their chief rival the PlayStation 4. Microsoft's competitor has continued sales dominance since launch in every region in the world, including Microsoft's home territory in the United States. The bold move will make this race more about the games and less about the price, and it's exciting for all gamers who like a competitive market to breed innovation.
But the decision is not without sacrifice, and it's a big one. Removing Kinect from the Xbox One may seem like a natural move to many of their critics, but it's really a death sentence for the technology and in many ways the entire vision of the Xbox One as a true media center. Kinect support in existing games has been, well, awful. Genuinely awful. Very few games make any use of the device, and none of the biggest games offer any notably exclusive Kinect features. The Xbox One's biggest title, Titanfall, doesn't support the peripheral at all.
Kinect's struggle to gain traction has been long, and aside from dancing and minigames, it has yet to prove its right to exist as a gaming device. This is the truth Microsoft had to admit today, and it ultimately means the end of Kinect. Kinect had a chance at gaining that support as a pack-in. As an inseparable part of the Xbox experience it might have, over time, caught back on with developers. As something that likely fewer than half of actual Xbox One owners will possess however, Kinect is a non-starter. The expense of adding Kinect features to games will simply not be worth it to reach a fraction of the game's audience.
This has a serious threat to the Xbox One's vision as the voice and gesture controlled media hub of your home as well. It will be difficult to sell the advantages of an Xbox One as a media center controlled by an ungainly gamepad. If Microsoft is smart they'll build an Xbox One voice remote app for use on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone to keep the dream alive, but Kinect will clearly not be the solution anymore.
Microsoft will not stop producing or selling Kinect, and they'll continue to try to make the Xbox One appeal as a media center, but Kinect's dream as a gaming peripheral of any real meaning is over. It will be at best a side project for a select few games, and it will not be the device of the future for controlling your media experiences. Microsoft made a huge sacrifice to bring the Xbox One back in competition with the PS4. Was it worth it? Time will tell, but the Xbox One has officially been disKinected.