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Microsoft says publishers figured in to Kinect-less Xbox One

Disney Fantasia staff at Harmonix express dismay

Microsoft has said it sought feedback from game publishers and entertainment partners before announcing its cheaper Kinect-free Xbox One package.

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Yusuf Mehdi, Xbox's chief marketing and strategy officer, told Forbes about the firm's decisions $399 sans-Kinect Xbox One package announced Tuesday. He said Microsoft settled on the idea after a few months of discussions.

"As you can imagine, we have really strong relationships [with publishers and entertainment partners]," Mehdi said. "The two of us looked at the problem the same way. We love Kinect, we love the way it's going and the possibilities. At the same time, we also wanted to have a broadened base of users. Some games are fully Kinect-based, and some are better when you use Kinect, but can also work fine without it. In each of those cases, this is still the right call."

Mehdi's comments stand in contrast to off-the-cuff reactions from Harmonix. The studio is developing Fantasia: Music Evolved, an Xbox 360 and Xbox One exclusive that uses Kinect to let players interact with music:




Mehdi said he expects many consumers who purchase an Xbox One at the lower price point will buy a Kinect later on, when they may have avoided the system bundled together at $499.

The cheaper package matches the price of PS4, though Mehdi said it would be inaccurate to chalk up PS4's greater sales to price alone:

"It's hard to really assess the gap in sales. They're in many more markets right now than we are. They're in 40+ markets, we're in 13. People have been more satisfied with the Xbox 360 than the PS3, so in that respect people have less of a need to upgrade in the short term due to regular updates for the Xbox 360."

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