Today brought big news for fans of Microsoft and their consoles. Whether it was good or not depends on what kind of a fan you are. If you love the Kinect and were hoping for innovating games and a new way to play…you might want to skip this bit.
After all the talk about how important the Kinect was in Microsoft’s business plan, the company have removed it from the Xbox One and, come June 9th, will be selling an Xbox One without the added peripheral. The console will be priced at US$399 at launch and will still come with an Xbox One controller. A stand-alone Kinect will be launched later this November, the pricing for that has not yet been announced.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, released statements confirming that the package will be sold in all regions already selling the console. This is not a backing away from use of the Kinect, more a response to customer feedback. (Something they’ve emulated in the next piece of news.)
To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision. Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console.
After many complaints over the peripheral, this price drop now puts the Xbox One in line with the PlayStation 4 for price. Although there is already a large gap in sales between the two, the majority of gamers haven’t jumped generation yet so this may sway people’s minds towards the Xbox One. Or so Microsoft hopes.
Our Take: I really do think this is a shame. Many developers didn’t previously adapt their games to Kinect because they were unsure of its install base across the Xbox 360. With the One, this base was widened to everyone with the console. Now this is no longer the case, perhaps we’ll lose any possible innovation that could have come from keeping it bundled. We shall see.
And on the eighth day, God made Games with Gold on the Xbox One. Finally!! Microsoft has confirmed that the one-year anniversary of their Games with Gold program will herald the start of the program on Xbox One and the addition of one extra free game on the Xbox 360 side of the program.
The games available in the month of June will be Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: Curse of The Brotherhood. In a twist toward the PlayStation Plus model, the games available on the new console will require a Gold Xbox Live Membership not only to attain but also to play.
At the same time as this announcement was made, Microsoft also gave information on the free titles for the month of June on the Xbox 360. Those titles will be Dark Souls, Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Charlie Murder.
Phil Spencer released a statement thanking gamers for their time with program that has helped shape the way it is today. Over 12 million gamers have used it.
Our Take: This is great news that I have been waiting eons for! Some people might get a little irked up over the introduction of Gold Subscription to play, but I just think that needs to be the norm for these kinds of programs. At least now we might start getting some decent titles on 360 and, well any, titles on the Xbox One. Here’s to another year of freedom.
As I write these wrap-ups I do take onboard feedback of what and what not to include. I was told a while back that news on the resolution of games was tedious and didn’t really qualify as news. From that day I have excluded it from The Daily Burn. It seems I made the right choice as today CD Projekt Red, developers behind The Witcher franchise, came out and said roughly the same thing.
Co-Founder of the company Marcin Iwinski had recently been hit by a spree of commenters questioning him on the state of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and whether it will feature a higher resolution on the PlayStation 4. In response to this he told Eurogamer that the difference was negligible and that the ‘Resolution War’ was more something for PR to worry about than gamers.
We had the debate in the studio about it and actually asked our tech guys to explain how it works, and they sent me some complicated graphs that ‘if I have this size of the screen, and I sit one meter or two meters from it, then I might be able to see the difference’.
It’s more of a PR differentiation, which is very important for Sony right now–and they are using it, obviously–than something that is really meaningful to gamers.
Our Take: Damn straight! This is not a reason to like or dislike a game. So what if one version has slightly less pixels on screen than another. If we wanted to look at technical specifics it’s frame rate that will really make a difference to gamers. Tell me, did Battlefield 4 look beautiful on Xbox One at launch? Great, could you notice it as the screen tore in half while you were playing? No, of course not.
Satoru Iwata has got the game presses running again in a meeting with investors last week. The contents of that meeting has now emerged, and it seems as though Nintendo are confident in their plans going ahead and have a ‘clear idea’ of what comes after the Wii U.
I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take.
Once we launch a new platform, we naturally start to prepare for the next one. As it takes several years to develop a single platform, if you ask us whether we are preparing for our next system, then the correct response will be that we are always developing new hardware.
Iwata went on to explain that while no release plans had been made yet, they are certainly not at a dead end and have not finished with the Wii U. He finished by saying that with Mario Kart 8 on the horizon, his hopes for the system were still high. He sighted Pokemon as a game that singlehandedly revived a system.
“As many of you probably remember, before the release of the Pokemon game, Game Boy had been showing slow growth, and many people wondered whether it was the end of Game Boy. But the Pokemon game singlehandedly changed the landscape of the system, which then started to show the strongest sales in the lifecycle of the system.”
Our Take: Iwata has always remained confident of his team’s ability with hardware. A couple of months back he stated that they had a 10-year plan to revive the company and today he seems no different. No doubt that Mario Kart 8 will aid the sales of the Wii U. I just hope that they’ve learned from their mistakes and will provide far better support for any future console launches.