Microsoft today announced that they’ll soon be offering their latest console offering without the KINECT peripheral. The console will be available June 9th for $399.00 which matches the price of Sony’s PS4 and you’ll be able to buy the KINECT camera separately although a price has not been shared for that. I’d guess it’ll be more expensive than getting it bundled.
Also announced is the Games for Gold program which gives GOLD level members free games each month to own (UPDATE: while your payments are current. This allows access to better games as is evidenced with Playstation’s similar program)
forever, regardless of whether you quit your membership later or not. Playstation has a similar program, but you lose access to the games when you stop paying for your membership. GOLD accounts currently carry over from X360 so, if you own both consoles you effectively have access to 4 free games each month. The first games to be given on XBOX ONE will be Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. Max is a really fun game btw and well worth paying for alone.
GOLD members also get exclusive discounts not available to SILVER (free account) level members that if the X360 is any guide, nets gamers fantastic deals with the ability to get games at up to 75% off retail pricing.
Now for a rumor-mill story. Ars Technica recently reported that multiple sources at Microsoft claim that possibly at E3 (maybe earlier) that entertainment apps such as Netflix and HULU Plus will be dropped from the pay wall allowing users with free SILVER accounts to use these apps without having to pay for the privilege. This is already done on Playstation and by Nintendo, but has been something you had to have a paid membership to access on XBOX. The report also suggests that other content which might have been free to everyone before might then be swapped in to the pay wall to make up for it. My hunch is that rather than take existing content, they will do future items such as the many new TV shows their working on and put those behind the pay wall. Possibly we could see a situation where you have to pay to rent a TV show if you’re SILVER where a GOLD member gets to watch it free of charge.