News Article

Reaction: Xbox One's PS4 Impersonation Improves with Kinect Reversal

Posted by Sammy Barker

Xbox, WTF?

Microsoft successfully completed its transformation of the Xbox One into the PlayStation 4 today, announcing that the system will soon be sold without a Kinect camera included. This likely represents the last reversal in a throng of backtracks, and the decision has presumably been made in response to the device’s disappointing sales figures, which have seen it slump behind Sony’s system in recent months. As of 1st April, the Redmond-based firm had shipped five million units, whereas its Japanese sparring partner had sold a significantly more impressive seven million units. It’s almost certain that that gap has grown even larger over the past month or so.

Before we delve into some analysis, though, what exactly does the Redmond-based organisation’s latest one-eighty entail? The firm’s framing it as a move to offer “more choices” for consumers, but it’s clear that its focus on controller-free gaming has fallen flat. As such, a separate model without the controversial camera will be sold alongside the existing package for £349.99/$399.99. This will launch on 9th June, while a standalone Kinect will be made available later in the year. The fact that it won’t be on shelves day and date with this new package strikes us as odd, and perhaps indicates that – irrespective of its comments to the contrary – it’s considering putting the peripheral out to pasture.

The Xbox One has abandoned its original vision at this point, and merely reinvented itself as a less powerful PS4 with green branding

Most importantly, the move places the platform at price parity with the PS4. This is the second official cost cut that the Windows maker has made this year, with the system’s price sticker previously being slashed in the UK shortly before the release of Titanfall. Despite this – and countless retailer promotions around the globe, though – the console couldn’t keep pace with Sony’s system, even falling behind the Japanese giant’s format in North America during the launch month of its most anticipated game. This latest reduction should heat up the rivalry in the format war once more, with both firms now forced to fight on a level playing field.

However, while we can appreciate the rapid response from Microsoft’s management team, we can’t help but feel that this incessant chopping and changing flags a complete lack of direction within the Xbox division. In addition to the removal of the Kinect, the firm also announced improvements to its 'Games with Gold' program – effectively borrowing the features of PlayStation Plus – while also freeing entertainment applications such as Netflix from behind the Xbox Live paywall. These are all necessary tweaks that it should have made eons ago, but they all feel reactionary rather than revolutionary; the Xbox One has essentially abandoned its original vision at this point, and merely reinvented itself as, well, a less powerful PS4 with green branding. Even with our inherent bias set aside, we’re not entirely sure what sets it apart.

Sony is blazing the right trail, and even though Microsoft is desperately trying to catch the PS4’s slipstream, it’s still got a lot of ground to cover

And that’s something that Microsoft will have to prove at E3 next month, as, while this closes the gap between the two consoles one more time, we still feel like Sony is in the driving seat. Make no mistake, the Japanese giant’s going to find it difficult to continue to utterly dominate in the UK and North America once this change actually takes place, but it’s not going to massively upset the manufacturer’s momentum at all – especially given the manner in which the release calendar has shaken out. Consumers will still have to make a choice, of course, but with word of the PS4’s superior hardware rife, we can’t see it suddenly falling behind at the same price.

And yet even if it does, it’s still clear that Sony holds all of the cards. Way back at E3 last year – when everyone was expecting the next-gen battle to be distinctly more even – group president Andrew House admitted that it had engineered the console in order to be able to compete on price much faster than its previous format. It took years for the PlayStation 3 to reach a favourable asking fee compared to the Xbox 360, but you get the sense that – even with the poor financial fortunes of Sony as a whole – it could afford to undercut the Xbox One’s new comparative price point should it need to. Given how sales are tracking, that’s unlikely to happen, but the option appears to be there.

Whatever happens next, we’re sure that Sony executives will be reminding each other that imitation is the greatest form of flattery as it soaks up today’s news in its various offices around the globe. Not only has the platform holder forced Microsoft to reverse its stance on used games, but it’s also made it reconsider its self-publishing policies, and now strong armed it into changing the direction of its entire box. That shows that the Japanese giant is blazing the right trail, and even though the Redmond-based manufacturer is desperately trying to place its device in the PS4’s slipstream, it’s still got a lot of ground to cover before it even comes close to catching up.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s latest Xbox One reversal? Do you think that the system has lost its identity without the Kinect camera included? Are you tempted to pick up one of the platforms now that it possesses a lower price? Let us know in the comments section below.

Do you think Sony will now struggle to keep its next-gen lead? (99 votes)

Yes, the Xbox One is going to come back strong following this move


Hmm, it’s too early to say


No, the PS4 is still in the driving seat and will not lose momentum yet


Please login to vote in this poll.

User Comments (67)



RawWilson1 said:

Xbox 180 indeed! However, when June comes around, Xbox one will be my kind of entertainment system.

PS4 will still be my gaming console tho. It's simply the best place to play! This is a OUCH! to early adopters 4sure



GrafUlrich88 said:

Hey Sammy,

WOW! MS is doing so many reversals. They are in panic mode!!! Anyone who doubts me has to ask then why they dropping the Kinect and trying to be at the same price as Sony. When this new Kinect-less system comes out Sony should just drop their price to $369.99 and then see how it plays out. All never buy a Xbox system again. MS is a horrible company and I wish they would just get out the console war. I rather it be Sony and Nintendo.





Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

Hilarious. Ive seen a number of deals recently for £299 so it might still be cheaper than the xb1. The ds4 is superior, the exclusives so far are superior, Morpheus? What does the xb1 have to offer... not much. One thing that maybe needs to be considered is that while I had my ps3 for 5+ years with zero problems my brother has ended up having to splash out on 4 Xbox 360 consoles due to complete and utter meltdown. Those blindly loyal to ms are not all that great in numbers I suspect, I reckon the current lead of Sony will remain about the over the next year or so and then it should start getting interesting.



Lopezdm said:

This is what so many people wanted and was one of the reason why they didn't buy a Xbox one in the first place. So now they have taken the Kinect out and lost something in the process. It's funny to me though, people that complained about the XBO having the kinect bought a PS4 and than the camera peripheral. Now they hosts shows in their living room. I think it's funny, I have had all 3 next gen systems and find that the best experiences are to be had on the PS4. The community is better over all, even though I have to filter though live streams about things that have nothing to do with games. Once you get through it you can find developers and gamers that are pretty entertaining to watch. Ether way I hope the sales go up and this is a turning point for the XBO. It's a lack luster system with a good bit of backwards thinking. They want to charge you for everything and this just doesn't sit right for a lot of people.



Jaz007 said:

I'm not really suprised here. This could hurt consumer confidence though, they've taken back and changed almost everything, but the fact that it's games console and not a toaster.
I feel like Sony has something up it's sleeves. Sony's been ahead, and rubbing salt in MS's wounds since the beggining. I feel like something's at be coming to tip the tables again. It might just be me though.



Paranoimia said:

Even for the same price, it's still a weaker system - nothing is going to change that.

I owned both previous Xbox systems, but I've still got zero interest in this. The 'extra' media features hold no interest for me, nor do any of their exclusives - and for multiplatform titles, the PS4 is on top regarding quality. So for me, zero reason to buy.



hYdeks said:

People who want a Xbox One will just be more interested in buying one now more then ever, because now it doesnt come with the stupid camera and $100 more price tag, but if all you care about is which console is slightly more powerful, that pretty sad. You know Xbox fans are gonna get Xbox for when Halo and that come out, plus they probably have a loyalty to Xbox and want to keep up their achievements lol

Me personally, Im undecided as of yet, Im just leaning towards PS4 more cause I know it will get more Japanese RPGs, but I cant lie and say Xbox One hasnt interested me too, considering it gets exclusives like Titanfall, amongst other PC games that usually come to Xbox consoles (Left 4 Dead 1 and 2).



MANTAGTJ001 said:

xbox360 was the dogs for sure, but this time sony have learned from the competition and come out with a cool winner, this is the first drawless xbox, which will cause them problems like the ps3 for sure and didnt sony try to market the ps3 as a multimedia system last time ?.... maybe next gen xbox, for now I will stick with my PS4 and PC ty. x



ReigningSemtex said:

Glad I got ps4 1st but definitely going to pick one up a xbox one at the end of year to play the few exclusive games I have missed out on



Shaolin said:

@get2sammyb Could we have some PlayStation news instead seeing as this is a Push Square and not Push A.

The anti-Microsftness of this website really reflects badly on the whole PlayStation community and makes us all look like we're only marginally interested in the great games available via PlayStation. It also makes us seem like not very nice people which is a shame because not all of us choose PlayStation out of some sort of dislike for MS. It's really bad form to report Xbox or Kinect news on this website with such a negative slant.

Whatever happened to reporting about great games, enjoying them and improving skill to get good at them? Instead what we have here is a tasteless meta-game about the games. I simply must apologise to any newcomers to this site on behalf of all decent PlayStation fans because although it may not seem like it we do exist!



MJR said:

So after this xb180 is performed once again it will be on sale for the same price as a more powerful system, the PS4, hmm that makes sense doesnt it, what the hell are M$ thinking?, well decisions, decisions, what will i buy, they are the same price, but wait, one system is much more powerful than the other and offers far more, hmmm, no brainer really isnt it, the xb1 is less powerful so the price should reflect that, it should sell for £250, or there abouts, that would be a bargain, but as it stands, and even though they are making all these changes, it is still a rip off, why are they matching the PS4's price when it is so obvious that the PS4 is the more powerful machine, this is like selling a Skoda (XB1) for the price of a lambo (PS4)!!! - when will M$ learn?, well not anytime soon by the sounds of it, they will continue to lose money on this console, and they have nobody to blame but their greedy selves, if only they werent so greedy?, they just have nothing to offer anymore, absolutly nothing!!!!



Scollurio said:

LOL. They should stay true to their plans at least ONCE and see that there is content for kinect coming instead of basicly abandoning it alltogether. Failbox indeed.



Sanquine said:

Good job microsoft! With this and sunset overdrive it's very possible i buy a xbox one in the near future. Maybe much earlier than a PS4 ( Thanks to the way sony handled my precious vita)



thedevilsjester said:

@SimonAdebisi Its funny, everyone talks about the 360 selling 80 million units, but everyone I know with a 360 has gone through a minimum of 3 of them, and a guy I worked with went through 6, all not covered by warranty. This metric is not available, but I would be curious to know how many people own a 360 vs a PS3, not how many sold.



Reverend_Skeeve said:

@Shaolin I think this article in particular has every right to be here, on a PlayStation site. Sure, it concerns the Xbox, but since it will make the X1 more competitive and attractive to a lot of people out there, it will also influence Sonys strategy and the PS4 sales and such. Also, it doesn't hurt to look a little further, sometimes.

I do agree with you though, that there's been a fair share of borderline-gloating articles of the "Oh, lookz! PS4 haz moar pixelz again!"-kind, and those eventually hurt the PS community more than they help

BTT: Like many above, I also feel like this could hurt MS more in the end than help. As has been said, it makes 'em seem to be without a distinct vision for their system and now there's really nothing much setting the X1 apart from the PS4, other than weaker hardware and a bunch of exclusive games.

Even before this latest 180, I could see me buy an X1 eventually if there's enough exclusives out and the price low enough to justify the purchase and since I have close to zero interest in Kinect, the possibility to buy an X1 without it is hugely appreciated.

I couldn't care less about the media features, but tearing that paywall down and enable consumers to use the apps without having to shell out for Xbox Live Gold was a long overdue move. Finally, then.

Hope there's a nice special edition X1 available next year with a nice game bundled, then I might get one.



Holydiver85 said:

Personally it doesnt matter to me who wins the "next gen console war". Their fame or clout doesnt make a lick of difference to me. Its not like we make a profit share if they sell more. Some people might say the more they sell the better games well get and that makes sense to a certain degree however no amount of sales could help the poor build quality of the 360. I went through 3 xbox 360 consoles because of their inherent problems and I still have my launch PS3 console. I will never buy a Microsoft console again but that doesnt mean I wont ever play one. I'm not that ignorant. My brother will inevitably buy one and I will certainly join him for halo and gears etc.However Microsoft will never see one red cent from me.



N711 said:

Who's really surprised honestly? Meanwhile the. Watch dogs PS4 bundle is going to sell like hot cakes specially if 60fps 1080p



Demi_God said:

Now people are saying watchdogs is 900p/30fps while Xbox One is at 792/30sec lol. of course, the source that I looked at is really "meh" to be honest, but whatever floats their boat over there.



drumsandperc92 said:

@Jaz007 i agree, Sony definitely has something.
Remember when Jack at last years E3 trolled Microsoft by announcing the price at $400 and the used games thing?
I want to say they will do it again, announcing a small price cut to undercut XO's new price tag. Then again, PS4 is consistently sold out to this day, deman still outweighs supply, therefore it would sort of be crazy for Sony to chop prices yet. Maybe for the holiday season or something though, or maybe they will start Vita bundles at insanely low prices, like $500 or something.



get2sammyb said:

@Shaolin Thanks for your feedback, and for reading. As with everything on the site, we try to find a balance. I know this isn't strictly PlayStation news, but it does have huge implications on the PS4 and Sony's strategy moving forwards, so it's definitely a topic that we feel fits.

Obviously, we didn't really intend to write a lot of these articles, but Microsoft has chopped and changed so often over the past six months that this sort of article has popped up more than we probably anticipated. I assume that this will be the last One-Eighty story that we run, though — I'm not sure there's anything left that Microsoft can change other than the indie parity clause thing.



mitcHELLspawn said:

Some people really don't have a clue. THIS is why competition is great. This is why we need MORE than just the playstation or just the xbox. At the start of last gen xbox was absolutely dominating because of sonys cockyness and selling the ps3 for like 599.. so what did Sony do? they started all these great things like ps+.. and they copied Microsoft by getting trophies... well GUESS WHAT now the shoe is on the other foot, that's all that's happening. Sony came out on top this gen with a bunch of great features and deals... and now because the competition is doing so great, Microsoft have to catch up and start delivering to consumers by removing the pay walls and going with a ps+ type system. This isn't something to make fun of them for people.. Sony had to do the same stuff last gen. I think it's GREAT to see these companies trying so hard to win us over. competition is great which is why I'm not some goofy fanboy who thinks the other console is the devil.



mitcHELLspawn said:

@Dodoo haha yeah.. Nintendo has always just marched to the beat of their own drum though eh. worked out for them for quite a long time. Not so much as of late lol.



ComicBookGuy said:

Great article Sammy.
Gotta say, it's a sad day for the Xbox division. Confidence must be at an all time low, buuuuttt! I must say that Phil Spencer is pretty cool and he is making drastic changes to adapt rather than pay homage to the suits who used run the brand. I like him. He's a gamer at heart and loves the industry, not unlike House, Shu and Cerny. It's idiots like Mattrick who brought Xbox down into the toilet; Spencer can bring it back.

With all that said however, we probably need to wait for the Xbox...uh...Two, since, as you rightly said, it's a less powerful PS4 now, with fewer exclusives and even turning to the same subscription model, which is far more mature on PS. What exactly is the point of buying one now?
And let's not forget Morpheus, who the writers over at CVG rate higher than the latest Oculus. Greatness awaits indeed!



McSterls said:

A $349.00 price tag might help them out, at $399.00 you're still saying buy our inferior product for the same price as the PS4.



GrafUlrich88 said:


You right on with that. MS is desperate. They sold 80 plus million Xbox 360's and how many millions of those were people having to replace their broken one or buying the slimmer model which had fewer issues. Sony should just drop the price of the PS4, PS3, and Vita and squash MS once and for all.





GrafUlrich88 said:


It came out in April with Kinect Sports Rivals which got above average reviews and didn't sell hardly any at all.





get2sammyb said:

@mitcHELLspawn I fully agree with you - this is what makes competition great. However, it's alarming to me how much Microsoft has backtracked on its original vision at this point — shouldn't it have tried to communicate the value of what it originally envisioned, while also paying careful attention to feedback?

At this point, it's essentially transformed its entire system into a PS4.



Ginkgo said:

For MS to make this change and this that it will help, they must have confidence in their coming exclusives. E3 will be interesting.



JaxonH said:


Well I already own a PS4 (and Wii U), but have been watching the Xbox One lately, hoping for a good reason to buy one.

Strange as this may sound to you, I think I'd actually prefer the X1 WITH the Kinect. I think it's kinda cool how you can swipe stuff to the side and all that. Idk, it's just cool tech if you ask me. And it was what really set the console apart (aside from the single most important aspect- the exclusives). I'd pretty much made up my mind to get one before the year is over, now the only question is, which version to buy? This new $400 model without Kinect is cheaper, but you could already find bundles of the Kinect model (WITH a game) for just $50 more, which to me seems like the way to go.




JaredJ said:

@McSterls I completely agree. With ps4 and xbox one both at $399 I feel most people will still lean towards ps4. If microsoft lowered the xbox one price even more to $349 that may cause a lot of people to lean towards xbox.



mitcHELLspawn said:

@get2sammyb sorry, no I don't agree that's what they should do. They did that for the better part of a year, and it wasn't right. first of all, their original vision was the vision of Don Mattrick who is a total douchebag and was completely out of touch with who the xbox audience was and who was keeping the xbox brand alive.

So, no I don't believe they should have kept plugging along with that original vision. they have finally been humbled by the consumers who have spoken with their wallets on what they wanted and Microsoft hasn't just decided to say let's do everything sonys doing... they're doing what the fans are asking for, and for that I believe they are finally starting to get it. I applaud them for it and am proud to support them just as much as I support Sony.

I know it's great to root for the underdog and I'm so glad Sony has taken the lead this cycle because I think they're an amazing company and I know they needed it. I've been gaming on Sony consoles since I was a child and I'd hate to see that in jeopardy.. but at the same time I don't have a problem rooting for the big bad corporation Microsoft when they start getting it right!



Shaolin said:

@get2sammyb "Thanks for your feedback, and for reading. As with everything on the site, we try to find a balance. I know this isn't strictly PlayStation news, but it does have huge implications on the PS4 and Sony's strategy moving forwards, so it's definitely a topic that we feel fits."

You are most welcome for the feedback and I do mean it in the best possible sense. After all this is your show so to some extent my opinion on this matter is purely academic.

If you were coming at this from the "implications for the PS4" point of view then that's fine but it would be much more palatable if it could be done whilst maintaining a bit of dignity by having some sportsmanly respect for MS/Xbox as the competition. I fully understand that you wanted to make Microsoft's announcement relevant to your readers who are PlayStation fans but the resulting article comes across primarily as click-bait mockery and that's not nice at all.

I mean come on, claiming that an Xbox One is "impersonating" a PS4 because they are unbundling Kinect is weak and you know it is. At the very most Microsoft is replicating the original situation they had with Xbox 360 where they sold the Kinect separately. Their recent decision does not change the hardware at all so Xbox One no more impersonates a PS4 than it did before the decision.

I will grant you that there is a similarity in the marketing decision to unbundle Kinect as per the unbundling of the PlayStation camera so perhaps in that respect we can say Microsoft followed Sony's lead. However, Microsoft's decision to unbundle was made for a completely different reason so any similarity is merely on the surface.

The bottom line is that Microsoft tried for 6 months to bundle Kinect with Xbox One and now they have decided to unbundle. I've never had an Xbox but as a gentleman I can respect and appreciate that they are just trying out different strategies to see what works best for them and their customer base. As far as I'm concerned they could do a thousand 180s and it could still be for the better. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was Sony making these changes I'd feel the same way.



Madd_Hatter401 said:

This is good news for gamers who want to enjoy the greatness of both these awesome consoles but did not want to shell out $500. Its a good day for gamers and the gaming industry as a whole.



BloodyBill said:

I'm a tad upset because I bought a Xbox One in December because MS said it would never remove the Kinect. But whatever, it's done now.



Heiki said:

@Madd_Hatter401 I couldn't agree more.

With the Xbox One launching in Japan, I'm expecting some major exclusives coming. They have no chance to compete with PlayStation in that country otherwise.



Gamer83 said:

Just need an official release now on Quantum Break and Halo 5 so I can start making plans to buy an Xbox One. If both aren't until later in 2015, I'm going to hope for another possible price drop.



rjejr said:

@JaxonH - "I'd pretty much made up my mind to get one before the year is over, now the only question is, which version to buy?"

That was one of my arguements - way down the list of many - on why Wii U wasn't seling all that well after launch, people coudlnt deicde between 8GB and little storage and 32B but an extra $50. Obviosuly only a small concern overall, but I dont think it's a good idea to confuse the consumer. Freedom from choice. And this is even worse then a few GB of storage, w/ or w/o Kinect, that's a head scratcher.

Mahe must be screaming about taking the Gamepad out of Wii U, but really I've never seen how that could work.



rjejr said:

Well at least now I know why Gmaestop sent me an email advertising a $399 X1 starting n June. I didn' teven realize the Kinect wasnt n the picture until after coming here. Not that I was buying one anyway.

Have to say, taking out a $150 Kinect - wasn't the price on the original Kinect for 360? - but only dropping the price $100 seem like anther boneheaded MS move. They should haev just dropped the price anyway, taking but Kinect adn dropping it only $100 seems insulting.



kupoid said:

I'd much rather the 360 drop in price so I can play all of the Halo campaigns. $180 for the 250 GB model sounds appropriate at this point.



banacheck said:

So Microsoft saying thay wouldn't sell the XboxOne without the Kinect was a lie and every other thing thay said about the XboxOne & Kinect, i can imagine some people who have shelled out the full £500 believing there wouldn't be an XboxOne without a Kinect are not too happy right now.



Tasuki said:

This is great news for people like me who wanted a Kinect less Xbox One but after owning a PS4 since launch I have to say that Sony systems to me just seem more like a gaming system more then MS do everything box.



get2sammyb said:

@Shaolin This article is more of a snap reaction to the announcement, and my immediate thought was — and remains — that the Xbox One has more or less abandoned its original vision in favour of a philosophy very closely aligned to the PS4's. I didn't say that was a bad thing, I merely pointed out that it's perhaps lost its identity.

Don't worry, we'll have a more measured look at Sony's response today now that the news has sunk in.



Shaolin said:

@get2sammyb "Don't worry, we'll have a more measured look at Sony's response today now that the news has sunk in."

Looking forward to it because that's some of your best work



kensredemption said:

I imagined myself being happier to learn that the XBO will lag behind the Wii U and PS4 both this generation, but...I actually feel pretty bad for them. Dropping the price on the hardware is one thing, but they still don't have games and you'd still need a premium subscription for things that the Wii U and PS4 generally have for free. It's like they're holding their breath now...hope they don't drown.



rjejr said:

@JaxonH - Would you like my "PS Now" Beta code for PS4? They just emailed me one but I don't own a PS4.



JaxonH said:


Oh wow, thanks. Yeah I suppose I could give it a try. I haven't been too optimistic about streaming games over the internet, so it'd be interesting to see how it actually works. Perhaps it'll make a believer out of me.

Only thing is, do you have to be a PS Plus member to use it? If so, I guess I can just take advantage of that 2 week offer for new members advertised on PSN.



JaxonH said:


Haha I was wondering if someone was going to snatch it up. Thanks man I appreciate it. Downloaded and installed.

Not sure what games they're offering, I'm just curious to see how well games run while being streamed over the internet. I have pretty solid bandwidth (30mbps), so we'll see.



rjejr said:

@JaxonH - "Not sure what games they're offering,"

PS3 had a couple I liked and played - some psycho turn based strategy JRPG, and Sacred Citadel - but I didn't play long once I realized the save file was locked into PS Now so if I bought the game later I couldn't continue where I left off. And the stream was a bit stuttery even over my fast cable. I probably should go report that somewhere.



JaxonH said:


It was just one of those "read the terms and agreements" then check the box saying you understand. I skimmed it and saw that Beta users are not allowed to share details or impressions whatsoever, except with them of course. Which is the whole point.

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