In yet another huge Xbox announcement from Microsoft, the price of the Xbox One will soon be cut to just $399. This price brings Microsoft’s new console down to the same price as Sony’s PlayStation 4.
The new $399 Xbox One will be sold in all territories where the console is currently released starting on June 9 – the day before this year’s E3 conference is scheduled to begin.
The new package will not include the Kinect, which had been bundled in with the console since its launch. The mandatory inclusion of the Kinect with every Xbox One had been a sticking point for many gamers who see the peripheral as a gimmick.
The price cut announcement was made by Microsoft’s new head of Xbox, Phil Spencer.
“There’s a lot about Kinect that I really love, but we’ve also heard from people that they just like to play games with a controller in their hand and they play multiplayer through Xbox Live,” said Spencer. “What we wanted to do is for those people make sure that there’s a version of Xbox that really meets the exact needs that they have.”
Last November Xbox One sales got off to an impressive start with Microsoft selling 2 million of its new consoles in less than one month. Since that time sales of the Xbox One have been steadily falling behind the PlayStation 4, which has been consistently selling out across the world for months.
Sony took this early lead in the console generation largely due to mistakes Microsoft made promoting the Xbox One before its launch. At Microsoft’s big Xbox One announcement one year ago, executives heavily touted the console’s ability to display TV and revealed severe always-on DRM policies for the console’s games.
Though Microsoft backed down from its DRM plans, the console was dealt another blow at last year’s E3 when Sony announced the PlayStation 4’s price would be $100 less than the price of the Xbox One. The pricing disparity contributed to calls for Microsoft to drop the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One package, as the peripheral was seen as a major factor in the console’s higher price.
Back in February Microsoft announced a smaller Xbox One price cut for the U.K., dropping the price to just £400. A Titanfall bundle was also announced with no price increase, essentially giving a copy of the game away with every new Xbox One sold.
Today’s announcement puts the Xbox One almost exactly where its critics said it should be last November. With a competitive price, no Kinect, and less emphasis on TV in Xbox One marketing, Microsoft’s console is now poised to compete with the PlayStation 4 on almost every level except for the Xbox One’s lower hardware specs.
With this price cut, Microsoft is demonstrating yet again that its original plans for the Xbox One were not what gamers wanted. The move is almost certainly related to slowing sales of the new console and is a sign that Titanfall was not the major Xbox One-selling title that Microsoft had hoped.
Image via Microsoft