Following the news earlier this week that Microsoft will start offering a Kinect-free version of the Xbox One from June 9th, the company has been defending its decision to force the motion sensing perhiperal upon early adopters of the new console.
Speaking in an interview with Forbes, Microsoft's Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Xbox, Yusuf Mehdi, claimed that the decision to launch the console with the peripheral as standard was the right one:
I think it was the right call to bundle with Kinect.In the beginning of a new console generation, you’re trying to set the bar for a new experience, and I think we did that with Xbox One.The proof is really in the usage. 80 per cent of people are using Kinect which is remarkable compared to the last generation. We’re doing 120 voice commands on average a month with over a billion commands issued.People who wanted the experience came and bought it. We were sold out all through the holidays. I think it was the right call, and now is a good time to offer more choice for people who haven’t been able to get that experience.
The way I look at it is that you should take a five year vision. I think in five years, we will laugh at any computing device you can’t walk up to and talk to. Voice is going to be there for all devices.
We’re a pioneer with Kinect in the living room. And it’s not just voice, and it’s voice and biometric ID. The ability to pioneer that, and with the success we’ve had so far with five million people, it’s remarkable. We feel great about it.And look, we’re going to learn a lot, and our partners are going to learn a lot, and our customers are going to learn a lot, and we’re going to continue to shape it. But I think we’re breaking a lot of new ground and we’re delighted with the progress.
Mehdi may believe that people bought the Xbox One with Kinect becuse they wanted to use its gestural and voice control features, but the fact is that they were given no option. It'll become clearer in the months ahead whether or not Kinect has a future on the Xbox One platform or not. Should sales of the cheaper, Kinect-less bundle soar, with the more expensive option dropping, it'll become abundantly clear that consumers don't have the same opinion as the Xbox chief.