back to article Microsoft throws Kinect under a bus, slashes Xbox One to $399

On June 9, Microsoft will sell a cut-price Xbox One for $399 – without the Kinect voice and gesture controller. "We've heard from people that they just like to play games with a controller in their hand and what we wanted to do was make sure that for those people there's a version of Xbox that really meets the exact needs that …

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Meh

Meh.

I wanted MSFT's failure to be massive, and these changes are probably going to stop the Xbox FAIL boat from leaking. If only Sony hadn't made PS+ mandatory for online gaming, MSFT might've just given up on Gold-for-online-play as well. But at least it does show that mandatory Kinect, mandatory Gold for stuff you're already paying for is a no-no in the gaming market. And of course, the stupid secondhand-banning DRM as well.

I wonder if the Kinect-less XB1 will silently replace all the unsold ones gathering dust in the stores?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

Unlikely to change anything. The Xbox One still has a 50% power deficiet over the PS4, and every game to date has ended up vastly inferior on XB1... Nothing will change that for the next 8 years, specs are set in stone, DX12 and driver improvements will maybee claw back 1% at best, and Sony can do the same...

THIS is why the Xbox One is failing so hard. The premium price for a less than premium console just made matters much worse.

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Bronze badge

Re: Meh.

Well, no. The biggest problem with the XBox fail boat is XBox Live Gold still not available in many countries i.e. Malaysia. PS+ is available in any country where there is PSN, which in turn is available in most countries that has an internet connection. That, and the XBox One is still not available in many countries as well. So keep your dreams alive, unless M$ rectifies this and takes a page out of Sony's books and remove these regional exclusion hooplas, nothing changed.

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Re: Meh.

>>"You wanted less competition and a Sony monopoly? Are you retarded?"

Maybe they just wanted everyone who bought one to lose out big time and all the companies and people who invested time and money into games for it to suffer huge losses. They could be nice like that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nothing will change that for the next 8 years, specs are set in stone

It's not like developers learn to tweak and wrangle code until the device can do things that no one thought possible. You'll never have more than 2 colours on the same character space on a Spectrum, for example.

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Re: Meh.

@h4rmony - clearly I've just insulted a moderator (somehow) so thanks for keeping the sentiment alive.

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Re: Meh.

>>"The Xbox One still has a 50% power deficiet over the PS4,"

I'd be interested to know how you quantified the XB1 as "50%" less powerful than the PS4.

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Re: Meh.

>>"@h4rmony - clearly I've just insulted a moderator (somehow) so thanks for keeping the sentiment alive."

I imagine it was because you asked the poster if they were stupid. Possibly an unsympathetive moderator regarded that as too much of a personal attack. Though wanting Sony to have an unchallenged monopoly on consoles doesn't seem the brightest of ideas to me, either.

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Re: Nothing will change that for the next 8 years, specs are set in stone

That will happen on both consoles.

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Re: Meh.

"Stupid" might have worked but:

' "You wanted less competition and a Sony monopoly? Are you retarded?" ' is a no-no.

I tend to use the word to apologise to others if I'm late - makes the buggers think for a change.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

Look at the hardware specs, in partular, the GPU and memory. The PS4 has double the GPU pipelines, and the full 8GB of high bandwidth DDR5. The Xbox One skimps in both these areas, and added a last-minute bodge of 32MB of ESRAM, which is clumsy to code for.

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/166649-ps4-is-50-faster-than-xbox-one-report-game-developers

"According to unnamed industry developers speaking to Edge, Sony's PS4 enjoys around a 50 per cent improvement in performance, to memory read speeds and arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) calculations in particular, over the Xbox One. In real-world terms, one developer said that a game running at 30 frames per second on a PS4 in 1,920x1,080 Full HD would have to run at a lower 1,600x900 resolution on the Xbox One and still only achieve around 20 frames per second."

Plenty of other sources too.

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Re: Meh.

And yet, having both consoles and not really biased either way, it is clear at least to me that the Xbox is the more polished experience of the two. The PS4 was not *quite* ready when released and it shows.

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Boffin

Re: Meh.

In which case, if one has a 50% lead over the other, then the converse statement is that one is 33% behind, not 50% behind.

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JDX
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Re: Meh.

>>The Xbox One still has a 50% power deficiet over the PS4, and every game to date has ended up vastly inferior on XB1... Nothing will change that for the next 8 years, specs are set in stone, DX12 and driver improvements will maybee claw back 1% at best, and Sony can do the same...

What utter garbage. Punters don't buy based on CPU MHz and consoles have never been about raw power otherwise everyone would buy PCs instead. The PS2 and XBox were not evenly matched and the PS2 architecture was notoriously difficult to program for well (I worked at a game developer in this era).

That you think better drivers can only claw back 1% performance increase at best, is a good indicator of how much you know about these things - drivers can be totally transformational depending how good the original ones are.

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Re: Meh.

It has 50% of the shaders in the GPU which is of otherwise identical architecture and similar clock speed.

The RAM in the Xbox One severely cripples the GPU, also. So 50% is a decent enough estimate.

Obviously the difference in the real world will be smaller as most games will be multi-platform, so look similar from a distance, but that's simply because it's easier to change a few settings for each platform as opposed to create entirely different assets to make the best use of the hardware.

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Re: Nothing will change that for the next 8 years, specs are set in stone

You'll never have more than 2 colours on the same character space on a Spectrum, for example.

Well, strictly speaking, some games did have more than two colours on the same character space. It's a minor detail that what they were actually doing was swapping two for other two so fast it looked like three or four to you and me...

EDIT: yeah, okay, sarcasm filter fail. </tired>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

"I wanted MSFT's failure to be massive"

Sony - loosing hundreds of millions. Micrososft - making billions. Nope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

"The Xbox One still has a 50% power deficiet over the PS4"

It's about 40% - on GPU - but the Xbox has a faster CPU - and it's CPU has more advanced hardware offload capabilities. And the 10% of GPU reserved for Kinect is going to be removed by a patch very soon (http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/175463-microsoft-to-boost-xbox-one-gpu-performance-by-making-kinect-optional) . And the forthcoming DirectX 12 is going to shrink that gap still further.

"every game to date has ended up vastly inferior on XB1"

Havning played every game that is available on both - on both - I can confirm that is utter dross. Any difference is simply not visible even very close to a very large (65") screen. Even when you look at static screen shot comparisons, you can barely see the difference. What is of note as gamer is that the Xbox One has the better controller, Xbox Live is still significantly better than PSN and the Xbox One has much better exclusives - for now at least.

And that's without considering several major things the PS4 doesnt yet have that the Xbox One does - 4K output, Kinect 2 and an HDMI input.

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bex

Re: Meh.

I have been hoping Sony would go bust for years anyd it's nothing to do with the consoles which I have no interest in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

"added a last-minute bodge of 32MB of ESRAM, which is clumsy to code for."

The same architecture that the Xbox managed to outperform the 'more powerful' PS3 with you mean - that developers have been using for years now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh.

"It has 50% of the shaders in the GPU which is of otherwise identical architecture and similar clock speed."

The Xbox One has a faster clock speed, and actually it has 67% of the shaders of the PS4.

"The RAM in the Xbox One severely cripples the GPU"

The RAM in the Xbox One is lower latency than the PS4 - and is designed for optimal CPU performance - the ESRAM cache making up for the memory speed for graphics.

Seeing as you clearly don't understand the numbers and facts you are reciting (and are obviously not very bright at maths), you might want to read this simple explanation of the benefits:

http://gamingbolt.com/crytek-shares-secrets-of-using-xbox-one-esrams-full-potential-resulted-in-big-bandwidth-saves

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Silver badge

Re: Meh.

>>"You wanted less competition and a Sony monopoly? Are you retarded?"

Maybe they just wanted everyone who bought one to lose out big time and all the companies and people who invested time and money into games for it to suffer huge losses.

Anyone who bought an XB1 even after MSFT repeatedly showed they don't care about end users (ramming DRM until Sony 0wn3d them on that area; ramming mandatory Kinect "always on" smack in the middle of the Snowden affair, only relenting a few weeks before release; and it is until now that they offer a Kinect-less device).

And most gaming firms should have plenty of multiplatform games to offset losses from failing platforms. Pretty much every console generation has had one casualty, or at least one console underperforming, the sole exception being the Wii/PS3/360 where none of the three platforms was a failure. Anyone must have smelled the blood after the XB1 DRM fiasco and it would be stupid to bet all their marbles on that platform.

I do find it funny that MS shills seem to think that an Xbox failure will leave Sony as the only player in town. Nintendo may have hit a dud with the Wii U, but they're still in the game, and they're still going strong with the Wii installed base anyway. Then there's the Steam console, and I'm pretty sure that an Xbox void would be filled rapidly by newcomers. After all, Sony rose from nothing to #1 gaming platform in a matter of years with the PSX, dethroning the big N and surpassing Sega at the same time.

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MJI
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Re: Meh.

When ND and GG got the performance out PS3 was definately more powerful, just was a pain for the developers coming from single core and the last generation

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Meh...

Too little too late as far as I'm concerned. Once Linux can support my Steam games my Win7 install will be zapped and I'll be running my Linux distro full-time.

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Re: Meh... - steam on linux

"Once Linux can support my Steam games my Win7 install will be zapped and I'll be running my Linux distro full-time."

The only games I've got working on Steam Linux are Half-life2 and Portal2, only Valves own game.

And it was a bloody nightmare. I had lots of files missing I had to probe around the internet and on my original dvds to find. But it was good error messages. Maybe my problem is that I run OpenSuse. Friends with Ubuntu says it works much better.

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Re: Meh... - steam on linux

I'm testing Steam on Mint (don't like Ubuntu and Unity), and it works pretty much perfectly, right out of the box.

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Re: Meh... - steam on linux

"And it was a bloody nightmare. I had lots of files missing I had to probe around the internet and on my original dvds to find. But it was good error messages. Maybe my problem is that I run OpenSuse. Friends with Ubuntu says it works much better."

You installed Steam on a distro that is not officially supported. It really shouldn't have been a surprise that you had to do some legwork.

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Devil

Ah-

The sound of another MS U-turn- featuring samples of the lyrical stylings of M Thatcher...

Play on.

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Facepalm

Re: Ah-

Also known as the 'XBox 180'.

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Windows

Re: XBox 180

But MS Marketing refers to it as the XBox 540!

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Joke

Re: XBox 180

Or maybe, going by the handful of games that have been released, the XBox 720p?

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Re: Ah-

U-turn indeed. And clearly not a first for the company.

See:

http://semiaccurate.com/2014/05/15/microsoft-now-irrelevant-computing-want-know/

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Easy to blame the old leadership for stupid decisions, but considering that the dude left for ZYNGA of all places... yeah, I think he'll fit right in there. Microsoft needs to distance itself from his decisions as quickly as possible. This is long overdue.

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Disagree. I think it's another stupid move. The big advantage of the Kinect is that everyone has one - meaning game developers aren't giving up money by making use of it. Also, it's a key part of the plan to make XBox a popular home media centre. MS backtracking on this is a desperate move to try and boost sales and pacify critics. But it wont work. All it will do is shoot themselves in the foot.

MS keep doing this - come up with something really cool and then blink as soon as a bunch of angry people start forum posting.

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"The big advantage of the Kinect is that everyone has one - meaning game developers aren't giving up money by making use of it."

That strategy made sense when the console was first released but since then Microsoft has learned 2 new things:

- Developers don't want to make games for the Kinnect.

- Those who have produced Kinnect games have found the market to be very small.

Even if the Kinnect comes as standard with the Xbox One, it is at this point essentially just a niche/novelty game controller. Hampering sales for their console in an attempt to flog a niche game controller is not good business.

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Anonymous Coward

"Developers don't want to make games for the Kinnect."

I think its far to early to believe that. Kinect Sports is out soon for instance, and Dance Central is probably on it's way too.

What Microsoft have done is built up a nice installed base of ~ 5 million Kinects that will encourage developers to build games - even if Kinect is optional for new installs. And that was mostly during a period where Microsoft were ramping up console production to meet demand anyway.

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But the space required for Kinect to be usable for action games (at least on the V1) precluded it from being used in the XBOXs natural environment - a small room with a usually small display.

Granted the XBone is touted as an entertainment centre - not all installation areas will have the requisite space to play games in.

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Ummm nope

"Developers don't want to make games for the Kinnect."

I think its far to early to believe that. Kinect Sports is out soon for instance, and Dance Central is probably on it's way too.

Kinect Sports should've been out on release day, if the Kinect-as-a-main-feature hype is to be believed. After all, it was there from day one on the Wii, which is what both MS and Sony were copying when they made Kinect and the Move systems.

Dance Central is… probably not going to come. Harmonix hasn't announced much beyond "great plans for Rock Band and Dance Central", if they were serious about bringing Dance Central 4 to the XB180 they would've done so already. I'm so reminded of game franchises that never got sequels even when announced; I'm still waiting for that ObsCure sequel we were promised… noticeable that ObsCure 2 was a PS2 game. I wouldn't be surprised if the "next" Dance Central ends up being vaporware or indefinitely postponed.

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re: "space"

Very much this. We had an Eye Toy on the PS2, which worked out little more than a brief novelty, as standing up and flailing your arms to play video games is not really very much fun (and it didn't work too well). The Wii controller works (reasonably) well, but experience has shown that sitting down and not having to point the controller at the screen is the preferred mode of play - anything that involves multiple players standing up to play together will inevitable get switched off after a couple of rounds (during which at least one person will have taken an elbow to the face).

I'm sure Kinect is technically very accomplished, but I don't think it's what people want in their living rooms (or bedrooms).

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It really is the Xbox 180, isn't it?

Remember when Microsoft said this would never happen?

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/08/22/microsoft-xbox-one-will-never-come-without-kinect

So now we have two consoles at the same price, with the same general capabilities, but one is getting PS Now, wasn't locked down, has better games (though naturally that's subjective), and is more powerful to start with.

Making your product more like the PS4 to stop people buying the PS4 isn't gonna work, just like making your game more like Call of Duty to take down Call of Duty does jack shit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It really is the Xbox 180, isn't it?

Xbox 180 was my preferred term early on, too. Xbone just seemed childish.

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Joke

It was simply a marketting decision

Brought on by honest customer feedback and a review of our future contextual needs......

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K
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between 50 and 75 per cent off the cost of new titles

That roughly translates to "These people will be able to buy new games from XBox Live for the same price as they would from a store!".

Also I'd wager this discount only apply's to B rate games.

Microsoft once again left playing catch up, rather than taking the opportunity to put themselves ahead. I love my XBox, but XBox live could take a lesson from Steam, with mega-offers on games that people actually want. Do this, then people would not begrudge paying the $10 per month, I'd also guarantee they would clock up more sales. There was an article on El Reg a few weeks ago mentioning that a high percentage of steam games are never played, because buyers see a bargain that is too good to turn down.

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Coat

Re: between 50 and 75 per cent off the cost of new titles

"a high percentage of steam games are never played, because buyers see a bargain that is too good to turn down"

I resemble that remark!

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We may aswell just start calling them tfosorcim

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Anonymous Coward

Popular commands...

"Xbox On," "Xbox Broadcast," and "Xbox Record That," are the most popular commands, he said."

I would have thought "Xbox Off" would have been pretty high in the list too...

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Re: Popular commands...

"I would have thought "Xbox Off" would have been pretty high in the list too..."

Nah, people always yank the plug out when they rage-quit.

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Re: Popular commands...

If they know how many commands, and what commands, people are using then surely this must give xb180 owners pause for thought regarding their privacy..surely? anyone? no? thought not.

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Re: Popular commands...

It's the same as when they were reporting how many enemies had been killed in games, how many combos had been done, etc. Microsoft's willingness to use these figures in their marketing demonstrates that everything you do on an Xbox 180 is tracked.

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