Did you pick up a Kinect-less Xbox One and want to add voice command functionality to the Xbox experience? Fancy trying out auto sign-in and playing the tiny number of Kinect-enabled games the way they were meant to be experienced? Well you'll soon be in luck, because Microsoft are releasing the standalone Kinect sensor for the bargain price of...
This deal is over. Now it's ranting time.
The numbers just don't add up. At RRP, an Xbox One Kinect bundle costs £429.99, whereas the Kinect-less console will set you back £349.99. Since the Kinect sensor has now been confirmed at £129.99, this brings the total to £479.98: thus a cool £50 more expensive than the original bundle deemed too expensive by consumers in the first place.
This is... actually a good move in and of itself. Microsoft has to make the Kinect bundle look like a better value proposition if they plan to salvage any hope of Kinect being a relevant part of the Xbox One ecosystem. New consumers should feel like they're making a saving on the sensor by getting it with their console, then become used to it as a core component of the user experience. I 'get' that. Unfortunately, this logic only works if the peripheral is already selling gangbusters and supports a wide range of compatible software.
But it isn't. And it doesn't.
Kinect's voice commands may be useful and impressive, it's auto sign-in is seriously good fun, AV control is great and it brings a lot of convenience to the console, but Microsoft hasn't really given us gamers a gaming reason to own it. Kinect Sports Rivals? Indiscriminate multiplayer voice chat that broadcasts everyone in the lounge? A free copy of Dance Central Spotlight with new standalone units? There's no real reason for new Xbox One customers to spend out that extra money on a Kinect sensor versus the cheaper console package right now... so they're not.
And at £129.99, they're never going to pick one up. Never. Unless they grab one for £25 from CEX, who've now gone out of stock as canny resellers-in-the-making have already raided their supplies.
Microsoft had to release a standalone version of Kinect, but they probably should have taken the opportunity to take a good long look at their manufacturing to bring out a cheaper model. Kinect needs a slim version more than its parent console does!
Look: I love the Kinect sensor, but I fear that we'll see the peripheral go the way of its predecessor. The original Kinect lead to major advances in education, robotics, engineering and countless applications outside of gaming since it provided a solid depth sensor at a fraction of the price of competing devices. The PC version of Kinect 2 will probably go even further, especially if it can tie into the resurgent VR market.
But, once again, it'll probably revolutionise everything except videogames. Especially at £129.99. You could buy a 3DS or Vita for that.
Or three PS4 cameras.
Perhaps I'm wrong. Would you pick up a Kinect sensor for £129.99? Let us know in the comments!