Industry analyst Michael Pachter believes Microsoft will stop bundling Kinect with the Xbox One sometime next year – probably resulting in a price drop.
Speaking in his weekly webshow BonusRound, Pachter said that Kinect was “Don Mattrick’s favorite child”, but the executive’s departure for Zynga means there’s nobody left at Microsoft to champion the device
“Don isn’t there anymore. You have a new boss over the Xbox division, who has no skin in the Kinect game,” he said.
“Sure they’re gonna unbundle. Not in 2014. They will not change the SKU that dramatically in the first full year. It’s a 2015 event.
“Just the way they introduced the 4GB Xbox after a couple years, they’ll bring one out and it’ll be something that’ll look a little dumbed down. I think they’ll actually pick the core model and put a 2TB hard drive in it, and then the dumbed down one will have a 500GB hard drive, and it’ll have no Kinect, and it’ll be $400.”
The Kinect is largely held responsible for the $100 between the Xbox One and cheaper PlayStation 4; so far, the PS4 seems to be outselling Microsoft’s offering, although both consoles are going gangbusters. Pachter isn’t convinced a price cut can come soon enough to win back the lead.
“The problem is that if by spring ’15 they cut the price to $400, Sony goes $349 for ours/ Sony right now is in a position to stay ahead of them, and this is what happened with the PS2. PS2 kept taking share by cutting price,” the analyst said.
“I think this is a price game. I think unbundling Kinect is the smartest way to get competitive right away.”
As for why this hasn’t happened already, Pachter said Mattrick pushed for Kinect as standard because he “thought it was gonna change the world”.
“He believed it a mechanism to cross sell Skype and to cross sell cable access and doing other things,” Pachter said.
In the interim, though, Microsoft realised that smartphone and tablet integration is so high that it can build all those features into SmartGlass instead.
“I think the overlap of Xbox One households and smartphones and tablets households is probably a hundred percent. I think that Kinect has become almost irrelevant,” he added.
“I think the voice command is really cool, but you can use your tablet.”