Yes, I am, because I'm looking at it from a business perspective, not a consumer viewpoint.
Microsoft put millions upon millions of dollars towards developing Kinect 2.0, and manufacturing the peripheral is prohibitively expensive. To not have it packed into every box is financial suicide, because the Kinect will then be DOA (just as essentially every other optional peripheral has been throughout history) and Microsoft then would have to look at writing off a lot of money as a sunk cost. Fifteen years ago, the company might have been willing to do that (heck, that was the strategy with the original Xbox, which hemorrhaged money), but 2013 Microsoft? Not going to happen. That kind of write-off is the stuff that makes shareholders and board members start calling for heads to roll.
And to me it financial suicide to do so, you have to offer your consumers choices.
Tell me something, would you spend more a car from a dealer that was fully loaded with a bunch of stuff you would never use or would you go across the street and get exactly what you wanted for the price you want to pay?
I also hear the argument about Kinect failing if it's not shipped with the system, I got news for you, just because there is one in every box doesn't mean Devs will use it, it's a gimmick, nothing more.
Tell me this, if Kinect was so great how come it's attach rate was abysmal?
The most popular game sold less than 3 million copies, for having 20+ million units out that that is pretty poor.
Most titles barley broke 100k in units sold, Go to VG charts and punch in any Kinect title, see for yourself.
If the thing was so great it would be like giving away free ice-cream on a hot summer day, practically everyone would want it but ya know what? they don't.
You're either deliberately sidestepping or flat-out missing my point. Not once have I argued that Kinect is a great peripheral (though I'm very intrigued by the tech advances made with Kinect 2.0), and I'm on the fence as to whether or not forcing the peripheral was a good idea.
That being said
, the fact of the matter is that Microsoft poured a lot
of cash into R&D for Kinect 2. And it costs a lot
to make each unit. When you make that kind of expenditure, you don't suddenly throw up your hands and say, "Eh, that was a fun way to spend millions of dollars, now we'll make it optional and toss away any hope of recouping our investment." It's not like reversing on the DRM issue, which was a simple matter of flipping a switch, figuratively speaking -- the horse has already bolted on the hardware side of things. To offer a Kinect-free box would be the same lunacy as the different SKUs (with and without hard drive) with the Xbox 360 launch, except multiplied by a factor of a hundred. This is business economics 101.
Practically everything Microsoft has spent millions of dollars to copy and released in the last 5-6 years has flopped, why should kinect be any different?
It's funny that you mention a sku without a hard-drive, in doing so they lowered the price for the consumer (which was good) but dumbed the system down for the Devs which was very, VERY bad, it held the system back for many years.
Now they are making the same mistake, they are jacking the cost up for the consumer and still dumbing the system down (IMO).
Edit to add
Just found this article.