According to Microsoft corporate vice-president Phil Harrison, the Xbox One will never be sold without a Kinect. He explained to CVG that the Xbox One and the Kinect are not separate systems: the Kinect is part of the console's ecosystem, just like the Blu-ray drive, the chips, the memory and the controller.
Harrison stated that "Xbox One is Kinect", and that the inclusion of the sensor with the next-generation console provides a "magical experience". He highlights how through Kinect, the console provides a "personal" relationship between you and the system, allowing you do things such as walk into a room and simply say "Xbox on" to get the One to turn itself on, recognize you, and load your Xbox profile.
He's also optimistic about the gaming potential of the Kinect. Developers have approached Microsoft wanting to self-publish games that explore the uses of Kinect through unique, creative ways; something that will be possible through the recently announced Independent Developers @ Xbox program.
However, the fact that the Xbox One will never be sold without a Kinect in the box, at least according to Harrison, kills any chance of a lower-priced console bundle in the near future. Many gamers were hoping that Microsoft would release an Xbox One SKU without the Kinect for around $400, so that the system could compete at the same price point as the PlayStation 4. With a Kinect-less bundle off the table, Sony's console offering will likely keep a price advantage for many months to come.
The Xbox One will be available for $499 at some point in November. Microsoft are yet to announce an exact launch date for the next-generation system, although the line-up of 23 launch-day titles has already been revealed.