Kinect-Free Xbox One for $399: It’s Happening

May 13, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment


We’ve lost track of the number of times fans have argued that Microsoft’s best move would be to sell the Xbox One without the Kinect at a lower price, and most of the time, Microsoft’s only response was to insist that the Kinect was a required part of the Xbox One experience. But Phil Spencer has seemed determined to shake things up since he was appointed the new head of Xbox, and he sees things a little differently.

Today, Spencer made a few announcements, the most noteworthy of which is the new Kinect-free Xbox One. As of June 9, you’ll be able to buy an Xbox One without the Kinect for $399. Since Kinect is still an important feature for many games, the Kinect will be sold on its own starting sometime this fall.

Another piece of news fans will be excited to hear is that Games with Gold is finally coming to the Xbox One. In June, members of Xbox Live Gold will be able to pick up Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault for free. (The Xbox 360’s Games with Gold titles for June are Dark Souls, Charlie Murder, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition; the third game is a bonus in celebration of the program’s 1-year anniversary.)

One important note, however, is the footnote at the bottom of the page that states “on Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you’ve downloaded.” This suggests that unlike the Xbox 360 Games with Gold model, where you could keep the games forever, the Xbox One program will more closely resemble PlayStation Plus.

Deals with Gold will also arrive on the Xbox One, as will a special VIP room for Gold subscribers, where Microsoft “will feature free games, monthly deals, and other great benefits.”

And finally, yes, the rumors were true: you will no longer need a Gold subscription to access Netflix, Twitch, Internet Explorer, Skype, or many other apps/services previously locked behind the paywall. Check out Spencer’s full announcement to learn more.

Well, this was a welcome twist. Certain decisions have cast a dark shadow over the Xbox One, but Phil Spencer is slowly overturning them. Share your thoughts on these changes in the comments below. If you don’t have an Xbox One, does this make you more inclined to get one?

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Will the Xbox Live Gold Paywall Be Changed?

April 6, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment


Phil Spencer has been causing some waves in the gaming community since he was appointed the head of Xbox. His determination to focus on games and gamers is a beacon of hope for fans who think the Xbox One has been caught up in too many non-gaming activities. He’s working hard to make the Xbox One a success and make Microsoft’s E3 show fantastic. Perhaps even more interestingly, however, he recently referenced “changes” he might make.

While he didn’t actually name anything specific he intends to change, it came up when a fan asked about the Xbox Live Gold paywall. His response?

The paywall is a sore point for many gamers, as you need to be a Gold member to access Netflix, the upcoming Doom beta, and more. Now, he didn’t actually say he’s going to get rid of it, but he both acknowledged that players want someone to “blame” and suggested they could only blame him until he made his “changes.” What do you think? Is Spencer going to take down the paywall? Such a decision would go a long way toward creating goodwill with fans.

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Xbox One DVR, SmartMatch require Gold subscription

August 7, 2013 by Staff - 2 Comments


Yesterday we talked about the Xbox One and it’s DVR system being limited to recording clips at a maximum of 720p and 30fps. Well today we’ve found out that you’ll also need to be a Xbox Live Gold member to enjoy it.

Other services requiring a Gold subscription have actually come to light too, including the ability to use Skype, OneGuide (best described as a “TV guide type thing”) and SmartMatch (a way to get paired more efficiently with other gamers for multiplayer games).

To be honest I find all these features being behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall a pretty bitter pill to swallow. There’s nothing stopping the DVR clips being saved to the console’s hard-drive (it doesn’t need to be uploaded to the Xbox Cloud) so why charge for it? Skype I’m used to being free, except when I call a phone number and in which case I am happy to pay Skype for the privilege.

SmartMatch being Gold only is probably the biggest disappointment. But then again you can’t play online with your Xbox with a Gold subscription, so it makes sense!

What’s your view?

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