Just under two weeks ago, Microsoft dropped the bomb everyone saw coming a mile off, announcing a new Kinectless SKU for the Xbox One, priced at $399/£380. Huzzah and hurrah, more choice for consumers. Microsoft gave some spiel about it being about choice and not about them getting their butts kicked by Sony on sales, but no one believed it and the latest NPD report confirmed that the Xbox One was still trailing behind the PS4 in the USA.
Harsh fact time; Xbox One games aren’t better with Kinect…well some are but certainly not enough to justify its mandatory inclusion with the console. Fighter Within sucks, Kinect Sports Rivals didn’t fare much better and it’s a safe bet that Fantasia won’t break the trend. The only worthwhile things it brings to games are the little features like leaning in Battlefield 4 or the feeding animals in Zoo Tycoon (try it before you scoff, it’s a cool game for when you don’t feel like murdering things).
However, the Xbox One itself is better with Kinect… a lot better. The entire UI is built to work in unison with the Kinect and it allows you to do things you couldn’t do nearly as easily with a controller, unless you added about 100 more buttons.
To start a game I could go to my games and apps, then into games and click on my game…or I could just say “Xbox… go to Titanfall”. Now let’s say I’m in Titanfall and something sweet happens that I want to record. I could pause the game, press the home button, go to my games and apps, go to apps, go to upload studio and click start recording – of course in the time it takes to do that I’d have been killed about 15 times because you can’t pause multiplayer – or I could just say “Xbox record that”.
There is not one single ‘killer feature’ that makes the Kinect worth having…but there are tons of little features and time savers which add to the much touted Xbox experience that Microsoft’s PR dudes won’t shut up about. The voice commands work (as long as they support your language) and they really do make the UI very slick to interact with. The camera is great for Skype, as well as for recording yourself during Twitch streams and videos, and let’s not forget the automatic sign in which recognises you when you walk in front of the Xbox and signs you in, making you feel like a spaceman.
Is all this worth $100? That’s up to you, but I strongly advise that if you’re thinking of picking up an Xbox One this year, you get the bundle with the Kinect included.
Xbox, end article.