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Microsoft Will Finally Sell You an Xbox One Without Kinect and Let You Watch Netflix Without Paying Extra!

Xbox: where watching something you already pay for at no additional fee is considered an incentive.


The PlayStation 4 has been the clear choice for gamers so far this console generation, and Microsoft has snapped into action with a movie to get rid of their Kinect tax bundle requirement for the Xbox One. Aside from putting Xbox One at the same price point as the PS4, Microsoft has a bunch of other incentives to move the Xbox One off store shelves.

Yes, in addition to paying no more for a console than a PS4 owner, Xbox One owners will be able to watch Netflix, HBO GO, and other services that they already pay for without having to also pay for an Xbox Live Gold membership. To be fair to Microsoft, many (if not most) Xbox owners already pay for a Gold membership to play games online, but it was still a strange requirement for using Netflix and other apps.

The removal of the paywall for entertainment apps on Xbox was announced in a statement from Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, on the Xbox news site today:

This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV and HBO GO, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more.

Yes, the “and more” also includes Hulu. They’ve got the full details on the page with the announcement, and the change will come in June.

Additionally, Games with Gold, Microsoft’s free game incentive program, is making the leap to Xbox One in June.

Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars. The program will launch on Xbox One with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” and “Halo: Spartan Assault.” A single Gold membership will get you access to the free games for both Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The cheaper Xbox model is set to arrive June 9th, which is the same day as Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conference. They probably wanted to get these announcements out of the way before E3, because they’re nice but are still a clear admission of a need to do something to compete with the PS4. Now, they’re all set up to take that PR hit beforehand and then just quickly point to the changes as positives while they’re actually happening at E3.

It’ll probably work, too, provided we can hear anything at all over the fan reaction to the inevitable Halo sequel announcement this year.

(Xbox via Polygon, image via Microsoft)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.