"Two days ago, a confirmed Microsoft Xbox One developer did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit in which he dropped a number of tidbits on the console’s design, Microsoft’s plans for the project, internal opinion on the always-on DRM fiasco, and how Microsoft had interpreted the feedback from that event. One of the startling facts of the session was his claim that the Xbox One’s Kinect sensor is nearly as expensive as the console itself."
"If true, that explains quite a bit about the $499 price that’s led to a lot of grumbling in gamer circles. We don’t know what the Xbox’s bill of materials will look like, or if Microsoft is selling the system at a loss, but the $100 differential between Xbone and the PS4 implies that Microsoft isn’t gouging customers — it’s recouping at least part of the total cost of the system. That, in turn, means that quick price cuts are less likely and Kinect-less systems aren’t going to happen."
Microsoft’s Kinected Gamble
"There are two enormous problems with the “Sell a Kinect-less version” or even the “cut the price” idea. First, the original Kinect was a money-maker for Microsoft from day one. The estimated BOM on the device was $56 and it retailed for $149. If Kinect 2 is actually almost as expensive as the Xbox One, Microsoft is either barely breaking even on hardware or selling at a loss. Both Microsoft and Sony are loathe to repeat the hammering they took in 2005, especially since the longterm future of the console market is a bit cloudy. The generally wretched performance of the 3DS, Vita, and Wii U, combined with slumping console sales on current generation hardware despite ongoing game releases, puts considerable pressure on both companies to be profitable (or as close to it as possible) from the beginning."
"But if Kinect 2 is actually that expensive, it underscores why Microsoft can’t risk making it optional. Kinect 1.0, like most game console accessories, was only moderately successful. Motion-controlled gaming has faded to an emphasis on voice controls as Microsoft has realized that there are intrinsic limitations and drawbacks to running a game without any buttons. Still, the hardware made money — nearly $100 per unit."
"Kinect 2.0 has to justify itself and its price tag, which means Microsoft has to justify why anyone would actively want to own it. To date, they've largely failed. It’s not clear, for example, why Battlefield 4 doesn’t leverage the camera to allow you to use military hand signals to give orders to your squadmates — hopefully we’ll see that functionality added in a different game. Packaging a Kinect with every console is the only way to boost availability to the point where developers might use it, though Redmond faces an uphill slog when it comes to cross-platform titles. Since Sony doesn’t have an analogous mandatory device, game developers looking to cut development time may not be willing to bake in the necessary adaptations to make Kinect 2.0 compelling."
Still, the die is cast on this one. The Microsoft developer who conducted the AMA emphasizes that he can’t imagine using the Xbox One without Kinect, and Microsoft is clearly hoping that consumers will agree with him.
Video that sums this article pretty well: (ReviewTechUSA) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cdk3NpjJ00