The Xbox One has been on the market in North America for three months. Microsoft has failed to prove the worth of the Kinect hardware, and there are no concrete release dates for experiences that will justify its costs.
The Kinect for the Xbox One is a sophisticated, expensive piece of equipment that adds very little to the act of playing games. I'm able to get voice commands to work around 80 percent of the time, but my wife and children have much worse luck.It doesn't help that your commands have to be oddly specific, to the point where learning the syntax needed to get the system to do anything requires either a bit of memorization or reading the prompts on the screen, at which point you would save both time and effort by simply using a controller.The use of the Kinect for navigation and voice commands is limited and often frustrating, but the lack of games that use the hardware in any compelling way is just as much of a shame. There are a few gimmicks in games here and there, but Microsoft also packages in a headset with every Xbox One. The use of a sophisticated 3D camera with infrared capabilities and an array of microphones for voice commands is an expensive, and needless, form of overkill.
Anecdotal evidence from the Polygon water cooler suggests that the Kinect may be one of the most hated pieces of equipment in current use, especially among spouses.
The common defense of the Kinect is that developers wouldn't support it unless it was forced on consumers. This assumes that a fragmented user base would cause a low level of support from the industry.That attitude is presumptuous and consumer-hostile. Why not have Microsoft and developers create something that compels people to pick up the hardware first, and then see how well it does? Pushing a product on the public with the hope that it will be useful once we have it is a cruel inversion of how product adoption should be handled.The forced pack-in proves something we already knew at the beginning of this generation: Almost no one would want to buy the Kinect separately if they were given the choice.
Allow players who like the unit to purchase one separately if they'd like, but let's stop pretending that developers are going to jump back on board the motion control train, or that the expensive piece of hardware is required to accept voice commands that may or may not work.
Would most people buy a $100 Kinect along with the system? Absolutely not. They have one because they don't have a choice, and that's a brutish way to build a product.
The Kinect adds cost and frustration, and at this point there's nothing on the horizon that will make it more attractive. Microsoft is charging every player for a feature they may not want, even if drastically improved. It's time to make the Kinect a peripheral, not a pack-in.
A bit long winded, but if MS had listened to the consumer around E3 they'd of heard this kind of chatter loud and clear. People wanted price parity with the PS4, MS essentially told us Kinect can't make that happen, people get upset and ask for it to be optional.
The sales figures would probably not be what they are just now with a $399 launch, and the article does make a good point in that of what exactly do XB1 owners have right now that justifies Kinect? Pretty much only voice commands.
You can argue the sales effect of resolution/FPS differences, and have a point in arguing it not meaning that much, but pricing is one area that's pretty much outright hurting MS.