Microsoft’s Xbox One will achieve price parity with Sony’s competing PlayStation 4 on June 9. It’s on that date that a new One SKU sans Kinect sensor will become available for a $399 MSRP, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced today on Xbox Wire. This cheaper Kinect-free take on on the Xbox One will be sold in all markets in which the console is currently available.
Spencer noted the importance of fan feedback to the console holder, alluding to changes such as the elimination of the once-planned always-online feature of the Xbox One due to massive gamer backlash. “Today, we’re excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build,” he added.
The Head of Xbox also took the opportunity to point out that Microsoft isn’t forgetting about the millions of gamers who already have a Kinect sensor. “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision,” Spencer wrote. “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.”
The news comes directly from the digital mouth of Phil Spencer: Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition saves (worlds) will be able to be transferred to the Xbox One. This is …
Microsoft’s Xbox team is aware that many gamers aren’t fans of its forcing Xbox One and 360 owners to pay $59.99 annually for Xbox Live Gold access in order to play games online and access apps like Netflix. It’s aware that rivals Sony and Nintendo don’t charge their customers an additional fee to access many of the same apps. And since many of these apps (Netflix, HBO Go, etc.) already charge users a subscription fee, that means Microsoft is the only console creator making its customers pay a second time to enjoy such apps.
That might be changing at some point. Maybe. Possibly.
Phil Spencer, who in March was promoted to lead the Xbox team, recently had an exchange with a Twitter user over the Xbox’s app paywall, reports Forbes. His words may be of interest to Xbox Live Gold’s detractors.
Following the announcement of his promotion to new Xbox boss, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer conducted a brief interview with Game Informer about his vision for the brand moving forward in which he continually stressed the importance of putting games first.
“My goal, first and foremost, is to make sure that everybody understands that Xbox is a gaming brand and it’s going to be gaming first,” Spencer told Game Informer. “That’s a leadership principle that I will bring to the program from day one. It’s not that it hasn’t been there in the past, but if you put the studio guy at the head, you kinda know what you’re going to get.”
Spencer headed up Microsoft Studios before taking over as the leader of all things Xbox. The brand took a huge hit in the eyes of the gaming public last year when its Xbox One reveal focused more on the next-gen console’s ability to play TV shows than to play video games. While Spencer said that performing multiple functions is necessary for any “incredible” electronic home entertainment product, he stressed again that games are priority one for the Xbox brand.
“We have always been, since the beginning, all about games at Xbox,” he said. “I want to make sure that shows up not only internally, but also externally.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella yesterday made public an e-mail sent to all Microsoft employees detailing some of the new directions in which the company is turning. The company intends …
When Microsoft first revealed Games with Gold, which would provide Xbox Live Gold subscribers two free titles each month, users cheered it as a long-awaited answer to …
As the corporate VP of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer’s job is to help make Microsoft’s in-house projects the most killer-app software available for any platform. As such, he pays …
A tweet from Phil Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios, has revealed that Microsoft has a number of cloud-focused video game projects incubating for the Xbox One. …
Yesterday, in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine, Lionhead Studios’ Creative Director, Gary Carr, spoke of Microsoft’s commitment to courting indie developers on the Xbox One. He describes Microsoft as “very passionate” about building strong relationships with Indies, noting that the gaming business’ future is in jeopardy without independent developers.
Gary adds that while the big players like Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon “kind of hold it all together,” independent development is a major force behind innovation, and both big and small players alike can co-exist. Carr’s comments regarding an upcoming presentation from Phil Harrison could be interpreted as a hint that Microsoft may be re-evaluating its approach to publishing on Xbox One.
In a separate interview, Phil Spencer also discussed some of the challenges faced by both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One with regards to game publishing. The ease of development and publishing for the Xbox 360 has been both a blessing and a curse for the console. There have been some immensely high-profile, high-quality releases from a number of independent developers, but much of the Indie marketplace has also transformed into a dumping ground for woefully mediocre titles and clones of clones of clones.
At this point, so far into the console’s lifecycle, it can be difficult to reliably identify Indie games worth playing, and this has led to a significant shift in Microsoft’s publishing strategy for the Xbox One. Thankfully, Phil Spencer is aware of the parallels to Apple’s heavily-curated, closed ecosystem, and addresses them to an extent.
However, the goals are still potentially antithetical to each other; in order to attract good developers who create great content, a market cannot or should not heavily restrict access to its publishing tools. Conversely, a completely open market, where everyone can publish nearly anything, can also lead to a weakened content ecosystem, suffering from the same quality bloat seen in the Xbox 360’s Indie marketplace.