Microsoft’s announcement of a Kinect-free, $399 version of the Xbox One has essentially reset the console war for this generation. Offering the system without its trademark motion sensor is seen by most as a bid to pump up sales numbers that are lagging behind those of its competitor, Sony’s PlayStation 4, but Microsoft tells a different tale in an interview with Engadget.

Xbox marketing lead Yusuf Mehd spoke with Engadget, stating that the move is more about affordability and choice than sales. Mehdi stated that many of the 80 million Xbox 360 users have told him, “For me, it's an affordability issue. I'm gonna get there, it's just a question of time. If you make it more affordable, then I'll upgrade faster.” Mehdi believes that the second Xbox One option will help those players join the next generation at their own pace. He also stated that Microsoft has accomplished their goal of "defining a next-generation console," and is now moving on to providing more options within that definition.

To be honest, this all seems like blatant corporate double-speak, but Microsoft did admit that the Xbox One’s menu system, designed to complement a largely voice-based control scheme, will have to change. "We do want to find ways to give you some of those shortcuts and make some of the things that we have with Kinect easier with the controller," said Mehdi, adding, "You can expect to see us do a bunch of things over the coming months to make the experience easier and easier, even if you don't have a Kinect."

Microsoft's about-face was fairly surprising when it was revealed earlier this week, but now that the new SKU has been announced, that should clear the way for some bigger, better news at E3. At least in theory, anyway.

More From Q 105.7