Microsoft: "We are not discontinuing Kinect"

Major Nelson says the decision to unbundle Kinect from the Xbox One was all about consumer choice.

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Microsoft's decision to unbundle Kinect from the Xbox One does not mean the company is going to end support for the camera technology anytime soon. During his latest podcast, Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb explained that offering a $399 Kinect-free Xbox One was really all about giving consumers a choice.

"We are not discontinuing Kinect or support for it. We still have a whole team of folks working on that. But we want to give everybody who would like to get in on the Xbox One action an opportunity," Hryb said.

This isn't much of a surprise, as Microsoft said when it announced the new Kinect-free Xbox One bundle last Tuesday that Kinect remains an important component of the platform's long-term vision. Microsoft has high hopes for voice- and gesture-based controls overall, as Xbox executive Yusuf Mehdi said last week that in five years, we'll laugh at any computing device that doesn't offer voice control.

The new $399 Xbox One goes on sale June 9. People who buy the new Xbox One SKU will be able to later purchase a Kinect if they want when the standalone camera goes on sale this fall. Pricing has not been announced, but we can't imagine it would be more than $100.

It might sound backwards, but Microsoft's Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, contends that unbundling Kinect will actually lead to more Kinect sales overall. He argues that the $399 price point will attract a broader audience, who may in turn later realize they want a Kinect.

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