Just a few minutes after writing about the rumor surrounding Microsoft ditching the Xbox Live requirement for entertainment apps, Microsoft confirmed it and a whole lot more.

First, the big news. Starting June 9, Microsoft will offer a Xbox One sans Kinect for $399. This is huge news for Microsoft as it now has price parity with the Playstation 4. Microsoft will still offer the $499 version with Kinect, but let’s be honest, most people don’t care about the Kinect.

The move is a departure from Microsoft’s initial vision. Phil Spencer recently became head of Xbox and it’s clear he wants to move Microsoft into a different direction. Plus, Sony is killing them in sales right now. A $399 Xbox One will help narrow that gap some.

The Kinect-less Xbox One also means most developers won’t worry about developing for it. That will hopefully leave more resources to getting the resolution and frame rate higher on upcoming games.

Microsoft’s announcements didn’t stop with a $399 Xbox One. They confirmed the earlier rumor of entertainment apps no longer requiring a Xbox Live Gold subscription.

They also announced the Games with Gold program will be heading to Xbox One. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault will be free in June.

The Xbox team is also promising exclusive discounts for Xbox Live members starting next month. Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome will be the first titles getting discounts in June. Upcoming months will see games with “significant savings of up to 50-75 percent off certain titles.” Sign me up if it’s anything close to Steam’s trademark sales.

What if you decide you want a Kinect after buying the $399 Xbox One? Microsoft plans to launch a standalone Kinect sensor this fall. No pricing or release dates were detailed.

Today’s move was a smart one by Microsoft. It also has me even more pumped for E3. Get these kind of announcements out-of-the-way so we can see just games next month and not inevitable price cut announcements.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Does a $399 Xbox One interest you?


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