"This change will be enough to push the Xbox One installed base higher than PS4 in the U.S. and Canada in 2015 rather than 2016. It kind of reminds me of Microsoft's evolution on Windows and IE. The initial design needs some serious help (i.e., last summer's DRM 'Xbox 180') and then improves to point of being a serious contender (this Kinect unbundling) and then vies for market share dominance (although I continue to believe PS4 will have the largest global installed base of any console at the end of 2016)," he explained.
Independent analyst Billy Pidgeon added, "This is a good competitive move for Microsoft. Price is an important factor at this point in the console cycle and in the consumer market, and Kinect lacks strong value for most gamers. Xbox One without Kinect should sell strongly at $399 and could out-perform PS4 at the same price on a month to month basis, although I think market share competition between Xbox One and PS4 will remain tight for most of the cycle."
Furthermore, unbundling the camera gives Microsoft more room to maneuver and stay competitive with Sony. "With two SKUs in the market, Microsoft has reverted to its Xbox 360 strategy. This gives the company some better flexibility with pricing, bundling and product positioning. Microsoft has already described the Xbox One with Kinect as the premium offering," Harding-Rolls noted.
Ultimately, the move sets the stage for an even more heated battle at E3 and the months ahead in 2014. "Sony will need to re-group to maintain its momentum in the market with the E3 press events taking on even more significance for both companies now," Harding-Rolls added.
That might actually just happen, although I do think the US is the only place where the Xbox One will eventually manage to outsell the PS4.