The Xbox One has not been the crowning sales glory that Microsoft has been hoping, being thoroughly out-sold by Sony’s machine, so it was only a matter of time before the company started making moves to fight back. Today sees a major pair of changes in the Xbox’s future that may help give it the shot in the arm needed to start making up the sales gap with the PS4. The Kinect-free Xbox One is a nice start, but there’s also another revelation buried in the officially official announcement.
Next, we’re bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold members and offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership.
One of the most frankly baffling requirements in Xbox history is the need for the Gold subscription to access paid subscription services like Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Microsoft putting up a pay barrier between subscribers and the services they were paying for never made a lot of sense, so it’s long past time for the Gold requirement to meed its well-deserved end. There aren’t a lot of details available on the time-frame for the change, but hearsay says other services may go behind the Gold paywall to make up for the shift. We’ll have more details as they become available.
The other big change is a Kinect-free version of the Xbox One, as we mentioned here. Whether these changes will be attractive enough to help minimize Sony’s lead won’t be something we can know until the post-Christmas season sales reports, but it’s a definitely a good step in the right direction.