Hold onto your hats. Microsoft has announced that it will sell a version of Xbox One without Kinect, following a rumour to this effect from MCV. It'll be yours to pick up from 9th June, and will cost £349.99, $499.99 AU or $399 US, with prices for other regions to follow. This follows repeated denials from the big M that it would ever sell the Xbox One hardware separately. The manufacturer also plans to sell the sensor by itself, beginning this fall in the US. In a post entitled "Delivering More Choices for Fans", Head of Xbox Phil Spencer insisted that Microsoft remains committed to Kinect and Kinect gaming on Xbox One. "To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision," he began. "Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day.
"In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console. Some of the most popular voice commands include "Xbox On," "Xbox Broadcast" and "Xbox Record That." We will continue to offer a premium Xbox One with Kinect bundle to deliver voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes, and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as Kinect Sports Rivals, Just Dance 2014, Project Spark and more.
"If you buy Xbox One for $399 and later decide you want to have all the experiences Kinect enables, we will also offer a standalone sensor for Xbox One later this fall. We'll share more details about the standalone Kinect for Xbox One in the coming months."
Microsoft's E3 press conference - promisingly titled "Game On" - begins at 9.30am PDT on 9th June 2014. Here are some thoughts from me about possible announcements. Suffice to say that non-mandatory Kinect will steal the show.
You might also be interested in our list of the best Xbox One deals in the UK right now - we'll add new offers to it, including any and all Kinect-less Xbox One deals, as and when they arise.
The console is currently £379 from Zavvi or Amazon and £389 with Titanfall from Currys.
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