Camera-less SKU could increase appeal for Microsoft console as report finds gamers spend 22 hours a week gaming

Xbox One without Kinect announced

Microsoft is to release an Xbox One SKU that doesn’t include the Kinect motion camera.

The new bundle, which includes a console and controller, will cost £350 – the same as the price of Sony’s PS4 and £50 less than the current price of the Xbox One, which includes the Kinect by default.

The reversal follows multiple insistences by Microsoft since the Xbox One’s launch that it would not drop the Kinect from the standard console offering.

Xbox head Phil Spencer reiterated the stance last month, stating that a focus on producing better games was more of a priority.

“I always want to make sure that we’re in tune with what current or potential customers are asking for from us,” said Spencer.

“Right now, [dropping Kinect is] not the number one request from people. Usually it’s ‘where are the great games?’”

The announcement comes as The NPD Group reports that 34 million ‘core gamers’ in the US spend an average of 22 hours per week playing video games.

“Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice,” commented analyst Liam Callahan.

"With the new console generation off to a great start, we can expect the amount of time spent gaming to increase as more core gamers adopt them.”

The report also found that multiplayer gaming is particularly prominent among gamers, with almost 70 per cent of those surveyed playing multiplayer games either regularly or occasionally.

Concerning the competition between physical and digital formats, 74 per cent of gamers said that they would opt for a game on a physical format such as a disc over a digital download if the price was the same.

However, the preference for digital increased by five per cent compared to last year, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of gamers claiming digital as their medium of choice.

“Core gamers are an important part of the games industry and understanding their behavior is critical to anyone invested in the games space – especially considering the launch of the new consoles and the continued evolution of digital gaming,” said Callahan.

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