Is Microsoft Killing the Kinect?

Will an Xbox One bundle without the Kinect kill the chances for developers to make original Kinect titles?

Microsoft announced recently that they will be releasing an Xbox One package for $100 cheaper than they are charging currently - but the system will not come with a Kinect. While is a good thing for those who were waiting to pick up the console cheaper, it is a bad thing to some. 

Is Microsoft killing original Kinect titles?

According Zumba Fitness developer Zoë Mode, Microsoft unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One "kills the chances of making an original Kinect title," unless that title is a fitness or dance title. Speaking with Develop, studio head Paul Mottram also had concerns. He explained that while he understands the reasoning behind Microsoft removing the Kinect out of the Xbox One bundle, he feels sorry for Kinect developers who have "had the rug pulled from beneath them." He explains:

"We've been closely involved with Microsoft over the last few years and I imagine this decision wasn't taken lightly, but it's understandable as they need to compete with the PS4 on price...However, whilst it wasn't perfect, Kinect helped differentiate the platforms, which can only be a good thing."

He continues:

"From a developer point of view it's a shame, as it all but kills the chances of making an original Kinect title unless it is a major licensed Fitness or Dance product – and even those will suffer as it's unlikely we'll see Kinect 2 units even come close to the installed base of the original now. Even then it was a challenge."

Mottram does have a point.

Now that the Kinect is no longer required, Mottram feels that not many developers will want to make games for a product that will not sell that well. He stated:

"I just feel sorry for those developers who had Kinect titles in development who’ve had the rug pulled from beneath them and may now stand little chance of seeing a return on their investment."

Mottram stated that he hopes to see small developers come up for a "killer use" for the Kinect through the [email protected] program. 

The Xbox One standard edition without the Kinect releases June 9th. It will run at $399. 

"I just feel sorry for those developers who had Kinect titles in development who’ve had the rug pulled from beneath them and may now stand little chance of seeing a return on their investment."

I have to agree with Mottram.

Now that the Kinect is not bundled with the Xbox One, I feel that fewer people will be buying it. I always had the feeling that Microsoft bundled the Kinect with the Xbox One to get more of them out there, and to make sure that people had Kinects. Now that you can have an Xbox One without a Kinect, many people will not bother to get one. I feel bad for developers making games for the Kinect right now, as their consumer base will likely drop now that people do not need a Kinect. 

I understand what Microsoft is doing. Now that the Xbox One is cheaper, they can truly compete with Sony, and I feel that Microsoft will soon start catching up with the PlayStation 4. However, the Kinect will likely suffer the same fate it did with the Xbox 360. Not many people will buy it, and those who do buy it will buy it for dancing and fitness games. All other types of games will suffer, and the Kinect will lose a lot of support. Unless Microsoft can come up with a solid reason to buy a Kinect, it will suffer.

Senior Intern

Avid gamer and all around geek for over 20 years

Platforms Xbox One Tags kinectmicrosoft
Published May. 14th 2014
  • rocksteaxy
    I don't think its necessarily the forced accessory that caused the sluggish sales. Maybe it had something to do with all the flip flopping...?
    I mean, if someone e was going to buy an Xbox, because they wanted an Xbox, I don't think they would have bought a ps4 instead. Doesn't matter if it was cheaper. If the ps4 was more expensive I would have still bought it, if that was the system I wanted.

    I think MS shot themselves in the foot with the marketing of their new console, and now they are seeing that it should have always been about the games, not the cable or skype or NBA whatever the crap that was. They wanted to differentiate themselves as an all-in-one media center, and when that failed, they want to be just a game console again.


    Edit: before it happens, no I don't own a ps4 or Xbox one, I have a ps3 and xbox360. But I play my Wii U still :)
  • zarbor_6462
    So let me get this logic straight. Mottram feels like the rug has been pulled from Kinect developers because MS decided to offer a SKU that does not include Kinect. Yet MS will still be selling the original with Kinect for those consumers that want it. Hmmmmm. Think about that for a second.

    So basically he's saying that the Kinect cannot make it on its own or if people are given a choice to buy it or not they will skip it. To me his lack of confidence in the tech to appeal to the masses is very very telling. Seems like MS had been listening to jokers like him and anyone who agrees with him that are out of touch with the reality of the console gaming community.

    The reality is that Kinect 2.0 has done absolutely NOTHING for gaming to warrant a purchase since launch. Yes, all those non-gaming functions are cool at first but not one developer has made or shown by preview anything coming on Kinect 2.0 that would make a core gamer consider purchasing it.

    So why should anyone feel sorry for any Kinect 2.0 developer? You shouldn't. MS provided the tech and its up to the developers to provide a reason to be excited about their game(s) which automatically will get them excited about the hardware. The developers have failed MS and its really hard for me to believe their were many Kinect only developers making great titles.

    You should change the name of this article. It should read "How the Developers killed Kinect." Truth be told the Kinect requires more work for the developers and does not equate more money. That just won't work for 95% of the developers. Same thing will happen with VR.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    No, they're not killing Kinect but it wouldn't bother me if they did.

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