Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Microsoft Unbundles Kinect - We All Win

Today, Microsoft announced that they are releasing an Xbox One retail box that does not include Kinect (they also no longer require a paid membership to access non-gaming apps, such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. Which is the right move, finally). This goes against what they said at E3 a year ago, that the system was built around Kinect, and that it was integral to the system. They say that this vision hasn't changed, but rather that the Kinect-less retail box will allow more gamers to get the One, as it is $100 cheaper.

Now, every person on the internet has an opinion about this situation, and if I try to sum up all the different thoughts on the matter, this post will be tens of thousands of words. But I can say this: every single opinion is right. Isn't that a neat concept? If someone feels strongly about a given system/game/architecture/requirement/benefit/etc, then that is exactly what is right for that person. Which is what's so great about being a human. You get to feel the way you want to feel about things.

What we can't deny is that, with this move, Microsoft has given every gamer the option to choose the system they want to own and play, regardless of price. Want the more powerful RAM? Buy a PS4. Want Sunset Overdrive? Buy an Xbox One. Want Mario? Buy the WiiU. Only have, like, $150? Buy a 2DS.

The thing is, with every gamer who wants to jump to the "next generation" being able to choose the system they prefer, and not forcing them to choose with the limitations of their wallet, developers can make games for both consoles knowing that everyone who wants a console can get whichever they prefer, so there will be many more consoles being sold. Before this move, devs would probably have been leaning toward primarily developing for PS4 because more "on the fence" gamers would buy that simply for the price difference. And if a dev is neglecting one system's development for another, then it just snowballs for the primary system.

As a gamer, this move means more quality games on more systems. That means more fun. And really, if you're playing video games, shouldn't you be enjoying them? Let's all let games be fun again, and stop talking about how terrible people are, and how stupid/fat/ugly their mom/girlfriend/dog is for enjoying a different gaming system.

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