Mehdi: Bundling Xbox One with Kinect at launch ‘was the right call’

Microsoft has insisted that not having a Kinect-free Xbox One SKU at launch was not a strategic error.

That’s despite earlier this week revealing that it will in June launch a discounted Xbox One SKU without the much-maligned motion camera.

I think it was the right call to bundle with Kinect,” Xbox’s chief marketing and strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi told Forbes. In the beginning of a new console generation, you’re trying to set the bar for a new experience, and I think we did that with Xbox One.

The proof is really in the usage. 80 per cent of people are using Kinect which is remarkable compared to the last generation. We’re doing 120 voice commands on average a month with over a billion commands issued.

People who wanted the experience came and bought it. We were sold out all through the holidays. I think it was the right call, and now is a good time to offer more choice for people who haven’t been able to get that experience.”

Mehdi also believes that voice controlled computing is an inevitability, regardless of Kinect’s recent setback.

The way I look at it is that you should take a five year vision,” he added. I think in five years, we will laugh at any computing device you can’t walk up to and talk to. Voice is going to be there for all devices.

We’re a pioneer with Kinect in the living room. And it’s not just voice, and it’s voice and biometric ID. The ability to pioneer that, and with the success we’ve had so far with five million people, it’s remarkable. We feel great about it.

And look, we’re going to learn a lot, and our partners are going to learn a lot, and our customers are going to learn a lot, and we’re going to continue to shape it. But I think we’re breaking a lot of new ground and we’re delighted with the progress.”

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