In a move to boost its gaming-hardware sales, Microsoft will launch the Xbox Kinect as a standalone device separate from the Xbox One console on Sept. 7. The standalone device will come with a copy of “Dance Central Spotlight,” the new title in the "Dance Central" series and an Xbox One exclusive.
It’s no secret that Microsoft is losing the battle of the gaming consoles to Sony, which (NYSE:SNE) remains in the lead with 10 million units of its PlayStation 4 sold since the console's Nov. 15, 2013, launch. Microsoft’s Xbox One, by contrast, is currently around 5.3 million devices shipped.
Sony markets the PS4 as a console especially made for gamers, while Microsoft's Xbox One has been positioned as a living room accessory that could do a variety of things, maybe even more than purist gamers wanted. The Xbox One launched on Nov. 22, one week after Sony’s PS4 launch. It was already at a disadvantage due to its hefty price tag, $100 higher than Sony’s $400 PlayStation 4. Though both consoles suffered from a small library of next-gen titles at launch, the PS4 took off, selling 6 million units by early March.
On June 9, Microsoft launched a $400 version of its Xbox One – available without the Kinect. The company even promised the Kinect-less device would be 10 percent faster than the previous Xbox One, with more bandwidth and better performance.
The move worked, as the Kinect-less Xbox One contributed to a June sales increase. NPD Group reported a hardware sale increase during June. “The 106 percent increase in hardware sales (vs. June 2013) was lifted entirely by console hardware sales, which were up by over 200 percent,” video games analyst Liam Callahan said. “Combined sales of Xbox One and PS4 are over 80 percent higher than the combined totals for Xbox 360 and PS3 – an indication of the strength of the start of this new console generation.”
The standalone Kinect will cost $150, $50 more than it costs when bundled with the Xbox One.