After viewing Microsoftâ€™s reveal event last year, itâ€™s fair to say it left many uncertain with the shaky reveal: a hundred dollars more than the competition, forced Kinect integration and, most begrudgingly, a DRM-heavy piece of hardware. As the weeks from the reveal went by, Microsoft started changing its stance. The DRM part of the system, which would have placed restrictions on trading in games, was taken out prior to launch. But, the various other blemishes remained true, until June 9th that is.
Starting in June, Microsoft will release an Xbox One without Kinect for $399, the same price as the Playstation 4. Having price parity with your main competitor is extremely important for a new console, as can be shown by the beating Sony took last console generation.
Microsoft matching Sony with price is a great card to play. Their other reveals today will also force customers to take a closer glance at both consoles because their similarities are much closer than at release.
Finally, Microsoft has fallen in line with the many other companies that allow free access to popular entertainment apps such as Netflix and Hulu. The change will officially take place in June. With the rise of streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV and the most recently released Amazon Fire TV, itâ€™s crazy it has taken Microsoft this long to realize their overstep. Its main competitor in the gaming business, Sony, has also allowed free access to its entertainment apps (assuming you are subscribed to said app) since the Playstation 3.
The change to freeing apps from an Xbox Live Gold Membership may not sway a purchase decision, but it does a great job in the quick comparison charts between the two competitors.
Also, if you enjoy multiplayer and already have a Gold membership, youâ€™ll be happy to know that Games With Gold is coming to Xbox One in June. Games With Gold is Microsoftâ€™s competitor to Sonyâ€™s ultra popular Playstation Plus; but, unlike Sonyâ€™s service, once you download the free game it is yours to keep, on the 360 anyway. Similarly how with Playstation Plus you must maintain the membership to continue to access the game, on the Xbox One, it seems you will have to maintain a subscription to get and play the free games. The details are still a bit cloudy o how this will work for certain. Hopefully that means bigger, more recent games are coming to Xbox One’s ‘Games With Gold’.
Huge price cuts and changes in philosophy are usually held off for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) taking place the second week in June. Did swirling rumors force Microsoftâ€™s hand? Or are they that confident that their purported, game-heavy E3 Press Conference will be enough to put Microsoft’s console in the consumersâ€™ mind-share?