IDC believes Microsoft will unbundle Kinect from Xbox One console in 2015

Microsoft may state publicly that the Kinect sensor will never be separated from the Xbox One console, but research firm IDC predicts that's exactly what the company will do sometime in 2015.

In a press release on Friday, IDC offered their forecast for the game console industry, stating their belief that Microsoft will sell the Xbox One without the Kinect add-on next year, and that such a move will cut the price of the console down to the level of Sony's PlayStation 4. IDC believes that will also cause a surge in Xbox One sales, so much so that the console will have a larger install base than the PS4 by the end of 2016 in the U.S.

Microsoft has said repeatedly that the company will not sell the Xbox One without the Kinect sensor. In September, Xbox exec Phil Harrison said, "Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems." However, only a few games made for the Xbox One currently require the use of the Kinect hardware.

IDC also predicts that while the Xbox One may win the current console war in the U.S, the PS4 will have larger worldwide sales. It also believes Nintendo will cut the price of the struggling Wii U by $50 in late 2014 or early 2015. While overall revenue from console hardware is expected to be higher than the last generation, due to higher prices, the revenues from current disc-based games is projected to be 45 percent lower. However, IDC believes that will be offset from revenues from digital downloads of games, along with in-game purchases and subscriptions.

Source: IDC | Image via Microsoft

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The Kinect is part of the reason I got an Xbox one. To be fair it was not as good as my (perfection) expectations but it is still a great piece of hardware that adds to the experience.

I often use gestures for Xbox music and the store (much easier to scroll though lists and select tracks). Bing voice search is a most convenient way to get to Netflix content without trawling though menus (and find music) and voice commands for general control work pretty reliably (I'd preface this with saying TV volume can be an issue).

Kinect and the Xbox experience are dependant on each other. You can have it without the Kinect but what's the point of a next gen console if you want pc or 360 gaming capability?

Kinect 2.0 will always have something for everyone and maybe it takes time for people to realize that. PS4 and X1 push beyond traditional gaming by introducing VR, the playstation eye, move controller and kinect 2.0 that have tons of exciting features to be exploit. The sad things is neither one adopt by many people and will only create stagnation.

Sony used those trick such as removing eye to cut cost and increase sale in order to surpass X1. If every add-on is mandatory from day one and stay at the same price maybe 8th generation of gaming will be more innovative and fun instead of just graphical fidelity and resolution improvements.

I have no problem with the Kinect as an alternate source of input, for innovation's sake that is a Cool Thing, absolutely. But the 500lb elephant that no one wants to talk about is that there are literally less than 5% of the games on the market that really use the Kinect, and you certainly can not label any of those "AAA" titles. They are gimmicks or niche market (read as: exercise) games.

And that's fundamentally why they should be un-bundled.

For those people who want the interface, or want to play the niche games, the option is there. It's a win no matter what to split the products. The only thing keeping MS from doing it was the development opportunity, but the plain simple truth is, you can't build an innovation for gamers that no one asked for. Seriously, it's not like Titanfall has any special features for the Kinect, and that's the closest the XB1 has come to a AAA "hit" title.

There is a very specific reason why there aren't any games out that really use the Kinect well, and that's because at the end of the day, you can't have the level of precision, accuracy, and quality that gamers fundamentally demand. If it's frustrating, it's not fun, and if it's not fun, developers won't bother, because it won't sell. The best thing going for the Kinect right now is voice commands, and that's the only universal appeal.

So every few months when this dies down some new group predicts kinectless auk and we get flame war topics all over the web for a week making gamers look stupid????

Don't fracture the consumer base by having different capabilities in different console versions.
Removing Kinect from the system would only signify its death to potential game developers, and at that point it is dead.

Its certainly a tough call for MS.

On the one hand, they value Kinect as a platform feature that adds value to the experience, but then most people around here find zero value in what Kinect adds to the experience, setting aside its usage exclusively for a game.

So the question is, if MS lowers the price without removing Kinect, will those that insist it must go away still be willing to buy the console?

I really don't know what MS' best choice is here. If I knew what they were thinking with regards to Kinect, I could guess better. Based on their public statements, I would think they really want to keep it around, which would mean lowering the price without bundling it.

Even if Microsoft lowers the price, they could lower it even MORE if they'd unbundle Kinect. So there will always be some who are unhappy. But as long as they match the price of the PS4 most will be fine with having a Kinect bundled in.

I think they should unbundle it. Make the console $350 and sell the Kinect for $150. It is not necessary to simply play games. I used my XB1 without a Kinect for the first 2 months until I started using Xbox Fitness. If I wasn't working out I'd still have it sitting in the box.

I simply do not care for voice control, motion gaming, or cable set top box control and pass-through. I do NOT want to flail my arms to play Halo. I don't want to turn my head to move the camera in Forza. I just don't. If I could have purchased the XB1 without Kinect for $150 less I would have undoubtedly done so.

mrp04 said,
Even if Microsoft lowers the price, they could lower it even MORE if they'd unbundle Kinect. So there will always be some who are unhappy. But as long as they match the price of the PS4 most will be fine with having a Kinect bundled in.

I think they should unbundle it. Make the console $350 and sell the Kinect for $150. It is not necessary to simply play games. I used my XB1 without a Kinect for the first 2 months until I started using Xbox Fitness. If I wasn't working out I'd still have it sitting in the box.

I simply do not care for voice control, motion gaming, or cable set top box control and pass-through. I do NOT want to flail my arms to play Halo. I don't want to turn my head to move the camera in Forza. I just don't. If I could have purchased the XB1 without Kinect for $150 less I would have undoubtedly done so.

Not an unreasonable point, but if MS goes down the road of multiple skus, I just don't see a good future. I would say that if Kinect is such a burden to the platform, it should just be dropped.

Its going to be bad enough that they invested so much in Kinect 2 not just in the hardware, but also the integration in the OS.

If they do this, I'd upgrade my 360. Specially once Mass Effect 4 comes out. I would never use Kinect and only want my gaming console for games. The rest of the stuff is useless for me.

You would be surprised. I did not care much for kinect but since I hooked it up to the Xbox One its amazing! Sometimes I just want to check the friends list and its easier just to say "xbox on" and then "xbox go to friends" or just use motion controls (way more accurate than 360) to open it on the side. I use it just about every day when I thought I would never use it.

Mandosis said,
You would be surprised. I did not care much for kinect but since I hooked it up to the Xbox One its amazing! Sometimes I just want to check the friends list and its easier just to say "xbox on" and then "xbox go to friends" or just use motion controls (way more accurate than 360) to open it on the side. I use it just about every day when I thought I would never use it.

I on the other hand found it to be just as useless as I expected.

Since I started working out I've been using the Xbox Fitness program but that's just some fitness tapes which gives you points. I would not have paid the extra $150 for Kinect if I wasn't forced to in order to get an XB1.

I don't feel like microsoft will ever get rid of the kinect, It is always going to apart of the xbox. It will never be an add-on. Once cortona is added to the one, and more and more applications are made for the one, (i.e hbo go,wwe) and the like and others are updated. It is going to be nice to use the voice commands for those applications. I for one like the fact that I don't have to press buttons to sign in. It recognizes me when I sit in front of it.

Whether or not the Kinect features are being used effectively by developers is sidetracked by having systems *available* for developers leaves options open in the future. If it is an optional addon, no one will develop for it at all.

That said, I haven't seen many uses for it. Some can be used to work out or whatever, but there is no compelling deal sealer. Flat out, gamers want to sit on their butts and shoot things, not wave their hands in the air for 4 hours. When you're playing with a controller, you can't motion gesture, and it is still too awkward to interface with pure gestures. Even navigating a menu is a pain in the ass and takes much more time. Like that stupid 3D Unix system from Jurassic Park. There is a reason no one has developed that. It is ridiculous.

There is a place for Kinect, and I think it lays more with PC than Xbox. Attaching a Kinect to a laptop that you can use to direct a PowerPoint presentation? Good use. Virtual touch screens? Good use.

Their Illumiroom project (or whatever it is called) looks even worse, though.

Lord Method Man said,
That 3D interface from Jurassic park was real, not something they made up for the film. And it was completely useless and impractical.

fsn was a experimental program, not something aimed at real useā€¦

The reason i would never buy xbone is because of kinect and price! I only buy consoles to play games no need for extra crap that i will never use!

Not sure how IDC predicts that when the company flat out says it's not going to, especially with upcoming features on the way that require it (Cortana, developers who've already committed games with awesome Kinect-capabilities). Microsoft won't and shouldn't unbundle Kinect. Instead, they'll just lower the price just like they did with the 360. And they'll take the hit and gain through other means. Innovation is better than simply doing what competitors do.

Also - there's the rumoured mini version not for gaming but for simply TV watching and app to compete with Apple TV and Chromecast.

Companies deny things and then do exactly what they denied all the time.

Plus Cortana just requires voice which means it only needs a microphone. Microphones cost peanuts.

mrp04 said,
Companies deny things and then do exactly what they denied all the time.

Plus Cortana just requires voice which means it only needs a microphone. Microphones cost peanuts.

You'll have to let me know where you got your crystal ball from, I'd like to pick one up for myself.

How the feck do you know what cortana on Xbox One will or will not make use of?

TCLN Ryster said,

You'll have to let me know where you got your crystal ball from, I'd like to pick one up for myself.

How the feck do you know what cortana on Xbox One will or will not make use of?

What would Cortana possibly use a camera for?

mrp04 said,
Companies deny things and then do exactly what they denied all the time.

Plus Cortana just requires voice which means it only needs a microphone. Microphones cost peanuts.

Kinect uses an array of 4 microphones to and some clever stuff to cancel out sounds made my the unit and the reverb from that and also to work out the source of sounds, its not 'just a mic' in any way shape of form and nor will 'just a mic' be good enough for picking up sounds in a noisy room when your far away from it.

Slim XB1 without forced Kinect and an integrated power supply would be pretty cool. You can even drop the HDMI in which is useless for people who don't pay for cable TV.

Wrong. See comments above.
It's more important to be innovative than simply copy your competitors. If they want developers to actually build games/apps for it, they'll need it. They can easily take the hit and make up for it in other ways (i.e. upcoming app store).

j2006 said,
If they want developers to actually build games/apps for it, they'll need it.

Except they still aren't using it. Why? Because CUSTOMERS don't want it.

The motion gaming fad is dead, and people can scream "but voice control!" all they want but that doesn't justify the Kinect when a microphone is all that is needed.

j2006 said,
Wrong. See comments above.
It's more important to be innovative than simply copy your competitors. If they want developers to actually build games/apps for it, they'll need it. They can easily take the hit and make up for it in other ways (i.e. upcoming app store).

The problem is though that even if kinect is there it's just too limited to be much use in most games.

j2006 said,
Wrong. See comments above.
It's more important to be innovative than simply copy your competitors. If they want developers to actually build games/apps for it, they'll need it. They can easily take the hit and make up for it in other ways (i.e. upcoming app store).

Lord Method Man said,

Except they still aren't using it. Why? Because CUSTOMERS don't want it.

The motion gaming fad is dead, and people can scream "but voice control!" all they want but that doesn't justify the Kinect when a microphone is all that is needed.

Kinect 2.0 still isn't accurate enough for competitive games or really any AAA game. It can only be an afterthought until it's a lot more reliable.

Plus I honestly just do not want to flail around to control my games. I'd rather push a button.

I've always liked the Kinect but have yet to see anything compelling developed for it yet. Since I don't own one, I can't help but wonder if it's just not capable enough to have developers do more interesting things with it...I hope that changes.

Hahaiah said,
I've always liked the Kinect but have yet to see anything compelling developed for it yet. Since I don't own one, I can't help but wonder if it's just not capable enough to have developers do more interesting things with it...I hope that changes.

There's a few indie games coming that use it in new ways from what I remember. Keep a look out for the ID@Xbox games, indies will use it first while the bigger studios will lag behind as always or play it safe.

They need high profile AAA 10/10 Kinect games to justify it to gamers. Nintendo had to show 3rd parties how to good Wiimote games, Microsoft has to do the same with Kinect, and Sports Rivals and Fighter Within aren't convincing people...

It's not capable enough for "hardcore" games. Until they can get it to be 99.5% reliable you can't use it in any meaningful way for games which are at all competitive.

I think they're more likely to just cut the price and take the hit. They've said too many times that they're not unbundling this thing. Especially with Cortana for Xbox certainly on the horizon I just don't see it happening.

scumdogmillionaire said,
I think they're more likely to just cut the price and take the hit. They've said too many times that they're not unbundling this thing. Especially with Cortana for Xbox certainly on the horizon I just don't see it happening.

I agree, cut it, take the hit for now, make it up with software sales (there's an app store coming soon to). Make some nice Gold policy changes and add new game related features to attract more subscribers. Introduce a new SKU with a 1TB internal for $499 if you want while this 500GB SKU drops to $399.

scumdogmillionaire said,
I think they're more likely to just cut the price and take the hit. They've said too many times that they're not unbundling this thing. Especially with Cortana for Xbox certainly on the horizon I just don't see it happening.

Whenever someone has something positive to say about Kinect, it is because of the voice features. The thing I always say is, ditch Kinect and add a $10 microphone. No one gives a #### about the multiple cameras and gesture features.

MindTrickz said,

Whenever someone has something positive to say about Kinect, it is because of the voice features. The thing I always say is, ditch Kinect and add a $10 microphone. No one gives a #### about the multiple cameras and gesture features.

Microsoft does not need to unbundle Kinect to compete. Price is not the issue here and if they were to unbundle Kinect they would take 100 steps back from the future. Then another company would do this and say they are revolutionary. This is very unlikely to happen since Bing/Cortana is essential to Microsoft Strategy. The fact that Xbox One will be so much better when Cortana is integrated to the X Box One. The Kinect would make it 100 times better from what we have on Windows Phone and Cortana on Windows Phone is pretty good.

George P said,

I agree, cut it, take the hit for now, make it up with software sales (there's an app store coming soon to). Make some nice Gold policy changes and add new game related features to attract more subscribers. Introduce a new SKU with a 1TB internal for $499 if you want while this 500GB SKU drops to $399.

Yep, at the very least they need to drop the Gold requirement for 3rd party streaming apps. No other set top box makes you pay extra, and it's been a long time since I've seen anyone make a good case for why Gold should still be required for streaming. It's not like HBO GO, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc. stream through XBL servers, so let's dispense with the charade already.

MindTrickz said,

Whenever someone has something positive to say about Kinect, it is because of the voice features. The thing I always say is, ditch Kinect and add a $10 microphone. No one gives a #### about the multiple cameras and gesture features.

Seriously did people forget that you can have a microphone without a camera?

nickcruz said,

Microsoft does not need to unbundle Kinect to compete. Price is not the issue here and if they were to unbundle Kinect they would take 100 steps back from the future. Then another company would do this and say they are revolutionary. This is very unlikely to happen since Bing/Cortana is essential to Microsoft Strategy. The fact that Xbox One will be so much better when Cortana is integrated to the X Box One. The Kinect would make it 100 times better from what we have on Windows Phone and Cortana on Windows Phone is pretty good.

Price is THE issue for the Xbox One. Either they should sell it at a loss (like with 360) or they should unbundle the Kinect. You don't even need Kinect for Cortana. Cortana is voice control, a cheap microphone or even the one in the headset is enough for Cortana.

Tons of people don't give a crap about Kinect. I bought the XB1 because I got it for a good deal and I literally only use Kinect for Xbox Fitness. After the first day of having my XB1 I put the Kinect back into the box and didn't take it back out for 2 months until I started working out. Even the voice features suck and I prefer a controller. Oh and I give ZERO craps about the TV control features. It can't act as a DVR, uses IR to control your box and I don't even have pay TV. I stream or download.

Given the choice I would have opted to save $150 and not got the Kinect with it. Yes, $150 not $100. The Kinect adds about $150 cost to the console. There was a Microsoft engineer who worked on the XB1 that did an anonymous AMA on Reddit and he confirmed that the XB1 would have been significantly cheaper than PS4 without Kinect.

mrp04 said,

Seriously did people forget that you can have a microphone without a camera?

Yes but like its predecessor, Kinect 2.0 has a microphone array that can filter out any noise it is causing. This is how you can use voice interaction during the loudest gaming session. Adding HDMI pass thru allows the same audio cancellation when viewing live TV.

It is not "just a microphone."

deadonthefloor said,

Yes but like its predecessor, Kinect 2.0 has a microphone array that can filter out any noise it is causing. This is how you can use voice interaction during the loudest gaming session. Adding HDMI pass thru allows the same audio cancellation when viewing live TV.

It is not "just a microphone."

Uhhh. What? The XB1 still knows what audio it's outputting. It can still do the noise cancellation. Kinect doesn't output audio.

And actually the voice interaction DOES become less reliable the louder I set the volume.

scumdogmillionaire said,
I think they're more likely to just cut the price and take the hit. They've said too many times that they're not unbundling this thing. Especially with Cortana for Xbox certainly on the horizon I just don't see it happening.
Personally, I think they should have cut the price and taken the hit from the get-go. Comparing last-generation consoles' initial release profit margins is horrifying. This generation did much, much better, and so I feel the $100 loss to Microsoft would have been a smaller issue. However, with the cheaper bundle models available, the console is already technically cheaper than the PS4. You can pay $450 for a $60 game and $500 console (with controller, headset, and Kinect) if you get the Titanfall bundle, and that puts the console at "$390," actually cheaper than the PS4.

webdev511 said,

Yep, at the very least they need to drop the Gold requirement for 3rd party streaming apps. No other set top box makes you pay extra, and it's been a long time since I've seen anyone make a good case for why Gold should still be required for streaming. It's not like HBO GO, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc. stream through XBL servers, so let's dispense with the charade already.

I disagree. To me anyone getting an xbox one or ps4 will for the most part want to play online (as there are more and more games that are online focussed or even online only, there is still plenty of single player but its fading). I have no figures or source to back me up, but I highly expect the numbers of xbox one owners that haven't got gold for gaming reasons to be tiny. If one person has gold you can all use the media stuff anyway.

Then, for the tiny fraction that aren't gold members and have bought a piece of hardware that is meant for gaming and gaming is more and more online based, I would expect it to be because they want to game but haven't got decent internet connection, so the media side is mute anyway.

Then finally, we have the people that have paid top dollar for a gaming box to play single player only (not saying this is bad btw, just value isn't to the full) that also want to use media stuff. I think this section will be quite small and small enough that it isn't really an issue. In the same way that a group of people that want an xbox one with giraffes growing out of the top wouldn't be an issue.

U should add, I think the gold requirement should go, but I also think that most of the people arguing about it either just want to slag it off for fanboy reasons or just have a go on principal without the gold requirement actually hurting them.

mrp04 said,

Seriously did people forget that you can have a microphone without a camera?


So how does xbox know who is talking? or how does it control the controller when you put it on table or give it to your friend?

nickcruz said,

Microsoft does not need to unbundle Kinect to compete. Price is not the issue here...

Wrong.

Price wouldn't be an issue if anything from the 360 world was forward compatible. If I have to spend 500 bucks to enter the XB1 market, then buy new controllers, then buy new games, all of which are entirely unique to the XB1 ecosystem, you're looking at nearly a 650-700 investment just to play ONE game for a family of 4. And then buy more games....?

Cutting the price by $100 is the equivalent of two free controllers, two free games... I'm sorry but those of us who are not made of green paper find that a Big Deal.

Crimson Rain said,

So how does xbox know who is talking? or how does it control the controller when you put it on table or give it to your friend?

Doesn't absolutely need to. Controllers can work like they did on 360 (and how they do with no Kinect pluged in). Neither of those things are necessary to simply play games which is what people want to use the XB1 for.

mrp04 said,

Doesn't absolutely need to. Controllers can work like they did on 360 (and how they do with no Kinect pluged in). Neither of those things are necessary to simply play games which is what people want to use the XB1 for.


Really? So you say microphone works without camera and then fail to say how it will detect who is talking.

And guess what? XBO is not just a gaming machine.

duddit2 said,

I disagree. To me anyone getting an xbox one or ps4 will for the most part want to play online (as there are more and more games that are online focussed or even online only, there is still plenty of single player but its fading). I have no figures or source to back me up, but I highly expect the numbers of xbox one owners that haven't got gold for gaming reasons to be tiny. If one person has gold you can all use the media stuff anyway.

Then, for the tiny fraction that aren't gold members and have bought a piece of hardware that is meant for gaming and gaming is more and more online based, I would expect it to be because they want to game but haven't got decent internet connection, so the media side is mute anyway.

Did you miss the part of the marketing materials in the XB1 release where Microsoft made it pretty clear that XB1 was the one box for your home entertainment system? Yes, gamers are the early adopters (even though there really aren't more than two or three compelling games) but the long term is to make XB1 the central box in a home entertainment center. Gold was for gaming from the start and should stay as a gaming only requirement. Do you need PSN+ to watch streaming services on PS3 or PS4? Nope. So Gold requirement to do the same on Xbox 360/One is just silly.