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Microsoft believes that the Xbox One home console is capable of a lot more than just gaming, and the company’s chief financial officer thinks you should pay a bit more for those extra features.
An investor asked Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Hood about the price of the Xbox One during a conference call following its quarterly financial report. The Xbox One debuts at retail for $500 on Nov. 22. The system’s biggest competition, Sony’s PlayStation 4, arrives Nov. 15 for only $400.
Hood didn’t concede that the price difference would pose a problem for the company’s next-gen gaming console.
“With Xbox One, we [made] a decision to really enable a first-class experience out of the box,” Hood told the investor. “There’s Kinect, there’s a headset, and there’s the console [all included] — and depending on where you are around the globe, there may be a game as part of the bundle.”
In the U.K., the Xbox One comes with EA Sports’ FIFA 14 soccer game included. In the U.S., however, gamers are paying a premium price and not getting a game. They are also potentially paying for something they don’t want: the Xbox One Kinect motion camera, which some fans don’t intend to plug in.
Hood didn’t only mention the Kinect as a reason for the $500 price.
“I’m excited about the increased opportunity Xbox One enables us to attach more and different services beyond what we’ve thought of as a simple gaming platform,” she said.
Hood is referring to Xbox One’s capability to perform Skype calls, interface with cable boxes, and run fantasy-football stats with NFL games. Again, these are more nongaming features that players will have no choice but to pay for if they want the Xbox One.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t need Skype on your TV or a Kinect to control your cable box, because Microsoft needs you to have it.
“Winning the platform at holiday, and our positioning to do that, allows us to grow profitability in a far great way over the course of the life cycle,” said Hood.
Microsoft is obviously just trying to get something in to the living room that can then generate revenue from videos and other products. In Microsoft’s battle for the living room, gaming is merely a Trojan horse.
“We feel great about our ability to continue our leadership position in the living room,” said Hood.