The Xbox One has performed admirably since its launch in November of last year, but Sony has already pulled ahead in sales with its PS4. Microsoft is a competitive company and doesn't like being behind, so it's planning an aggressive strike for 2014.
According to what VG247 calls a trusted source, Microsoft plans to introduce a new Xbox One SKU that costs less than $499. Similar rumors spread during the week have pointed toward the removal of the Blu-ray media in a new SKU. If true, this would mean that the new, more affordable Xbox One would be a 100% digital-focused console that is incapable of playing disc-based games or films.
A digital-only console would force consumers to purchase and download games from Microsoft's first-party store. Profit margins are much higher without a middle-man, so Microsoft would be able to be much more aggressive with its price point than with the current Xbox One SKU.
Many gamers have voiced loudly that they want Kinect removed from the Xbox One package. However, Microsoft has invested an incredible amount of resources into its development, and has centered the operating system around its use. It's unlikely Kinect will be made optional unless the Xbox One begins to struggle.
An earlier rumor also pointed to the popular white Xbox One (seen above) becoming available for consumers this year. It's unclear if that would coincide with the price drop. Given the popularity of the white Xbox One, I would expect it to replace the current $499 model and a black Blu-ray incapable SKU entering the market at $399.