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Sony: We knew Microsoft had to release a Kinect-free Xbox One

Luke Johnson


PS4 vs Xbox One

Sony has spoken out on Microsoft’s Kinect-based woes, suggesting it always knew its rival would be forced to release an Xbox One without the bundled peripheral.

Although the Xbox One originally launched with the camera-hosting Kinect as a mandatory add-on, slow sales and an increased price tag have recently seen the company introduce a Kinect-free Xbox One for the first time.

Now, speaking with Ars Technica, PlayStation’s Head of Worldwide Studios America, Scott Rohde has claimed Sony knew this move was on the cards long before it was announced.

"I think that, to be truthful, we always assumed that eventually they'd have to release a SKU without a camera," Rohde said. "So we were waiting for it to a degree, and we were ready for it."

Removing Kinect from the Xbox One bundle has seen the console drop from £429 to a PS4 rivalling £349 – or in the $499 to $399 stateside.

Although this price cut is sure to attract more gamers to the Microsoft made console, Rohde was keen to point out how much of an advantage a lower price point gave the PS4 during last year’s launch window.

"I'm not gonna lie. I remember exactly where I was," Rhode said of finding out the original Xbox One price.

"We were in press conference rehearsals last year. We had a feeling they were going to come in at $499, but we weren't sure. So yeah, we were dancing in the aisles and high-fiving.

"It was great. Anyone that came in on an interview, it didn't matter what the question was, I could always just answer it with $399. It was the answer to every question."

Although Sony is currently dominating this generation of console sales, the Japanese manufacturer struggled with its last offering, with the PS3 consistently being outsold by the Xbox 360.

"We thought we could overcome Microsoft in the previous generation because the first Xbox didn't have that great market penetration, and PlayStation 2 was so dominant in that era,” Rhode said.

“We wanted a machine in PlayStation 3 that was amazing, that could do everything, and completely misjudged how much the market could bear in terms of price point. Also, coming out a year late, it took us some catch up to get where we needed to be. But we're proud of where PS3 ended up and how it's still going strong today."

Read More: Xbox One vs PS4


June 24, 2014, 1:23 pm

That reminds me of the original playstation launch, sony coming in 100 dollars cheaper than sega.
Took Sony long enough to realise what matters - price and power. That and people don't like waiting a year longer either.

Prem Desai

June 24, 2014, 3:28 pm

Sony need to stop gloating and concentrate their efforts in completing the PS4.

Though it's outselling the xbox, it's not yet great....


June 24, 2014, 5:42 pm

Do you have a PS4? I don't, but I was just wondering what you meant by "completing the PS4".

Matthew Bryant

June 24, 2014, 8:13 pm

I'm pretty happy with mine. A short interview isn't exactly cutting into their development time. The PS4 will obviously continue to improve over time. Stop being petty. Thanks.

Prem Desai

June 25, 2014, 6:34 am

No real standout games as yet (xbox guilty as well).

Promised services still unavailable e.g. PlayStation Now.

Not many apps.

Don't get one yet - save up for the next version which should be cheaper, slimmer and will hopefully have the services sorted out.

It should be about the games

June 25, 2014, 7:30 am

This generation is (relatively speaking) underpowered. For all the "PS4 is more powerful than the Xbox" that gets thrown around the net by so-called gamers, the truth is neither really jumped that far from last gen. The difference between the PS2 and PS3 was huge, same could be said for the Xbox and 360. This generation the jump was smaller. What surprises me most though is how the PS4 is almost identical to the PS3. The UI isn't a whole lot different and some functions have disappeared completely which was really disappointing as I had been looking forward to the reveal for a long time. Microsoft's offering is less powerful, although not by much, but it does bring something new to the table. Gamers like games, and it is the responsibility of these manufacturers to provide a platform that we can enjoy those games on, but that should not mean they cannot innovate and push the boundaries of what each platform is about. I see nothing wrong with what Microsoft has done this generation. Some people do, and that's fine, but for me it's not the games or the hardware inside these platforms that will define this generation, it's the functionality of the platforms. There was a clear message at E3 last year from both MS and Sony. One was happy to nudge the industry in to new territory while the other was happy to play it safe, but if everyone was only ever willing to play it safe where will the industry be in another 20 years? Innovation should not be something we are afraid of. If it wasn't for the bold visions of Nintendo would our consoles even exist today?


June 25, 2014, 9:32 am

I see. Well I ain't much of a fan of Playstation anyway. I like Xbox 360 and Xbox One better but I won't try to piss on PS4 as a bad console. They're both good consoles in their own way. It's all just a matter of personal opinion.


June 25, 2014, 9:48 am

I like what you said. I think you are right about Microsoft wanting to be innovative while Sony played it safe at E3 last year. More than a few things hurt Microsoft though. The price, the Kinect forced on people, and the original policies about always online and strict policy on used games. Don Mattrick didn't help at all when he told people who didn't have internet that they can just stay with the Xbox 360. That was a stupid thing to say. And I think that while Microsoft is doing the right thing to be innovative and change the way we play games, I think their delivery of that vision was poorly executed. The way Phil is running thngs now at Xbox is the way things should have been from the start for the Xbox One reveal and launch. Don't abandon innovation, but introduce it in a way that gives players choice to accept or reject it and just offer them truly great reasons why their Xbox experience would be better with Kinect. Right now there are not any truly great reasons to buy Kinect. You can lead a horse to food but you can't force him to eat. If that food is appealing enough though, they'll choose to eat.


June 25, 2014, 1:52 pm

Part of the problem is that the last gen was powerful enough that games looked quite realistic. Previously, this wasn't the case, with each new generation you could see the graphical leap in power no matter the game.

While the ps4 and xbox one are undoubtedly more powerful, the difference in what you can see isn't as obvious. When models looked so good on ps3 & xbox 360, improvements to them aren't as obvious. It doesn't matter if they doubled the polygons for a character, when it looked so good beforehand, it's hard to see the improvements. Gives a feeling of "is that it?".
So we are seeing more particle effects, bigger draw distances, more models on screen, more realistic destruction of objects.

And they are pushing the boundaries, entertainment capabilites are in, it's no longer just games now. MS tried it with the kinect, and have had to back peddle. So it's not so easy to come up with these ideas. It costs money when they fail, it could push a company out of the hardware business or even sink it.

You've got to know your market. With the state of the world economy, paying an extra 20-25% for one console over the other didn't make sense. Price is more important to most people, especially as they have a cable box already. That's assuming it would work in your country - big mistake there by MS for me.

How the UI looks has nothing to do with power, all to do with creating a brand identity. It's now more about art than power as to what you do with a UI.

It should be about the games

June 25, 2014, 3:40 pm

I get what you're saying but mistake or not, the kinect was innovation and that, to me, is a good thing. I agree that Microsoft didn't think through their launch and just about everyone outside the US has had to wait for various services to come online, but I can honestly see the Xbox being frontrunner in 2 years time. The best thing Microsoft has done since launch is restructure. Phil Spencer has completely turned around the brands image in my opinion. The games are coming thick and fast, a lot of exclusives are on their way, and now indies, too, are appearing like Outlast. I don't agree with UI's being about art; brand identity, sure, but its to do with the user experience. Snapping up your achievements while gaming is a good useful feature. Snapping tv, whether you think it's necessary or not, is still a cool useful feature for most people. The UI is by definition a User Interface and I think Sony's falls short. I didn't like the PS3 one as it felt outdated and long-winded, and it's a shame they haven't improved upon it this generation. If the updates from Microsoft keep coming, and they keep to their promise of listening, and reacting, to what us users want, then Xbox should do very well.

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