After all their talk about integral the new Kinect sensor was to the Xbox One, Microsoft’s “Hard Hittin'” Marc Whitten has confirmed that the system does not require the peripheral to work. The good news was revealed during an “Ask Microsoft Anything” session with IGN users today.
Whitten said, “[L]ike online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.” Naturally, this bombshell required some clarification and Whitten complied: “You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work. We still support using it for IR blasting in this mode. You can turn the sensor back on at any time through settings, and if you enter into a required Kinect experience (like Kinect Sports Rivals for instance), you’ll get a message asking if you want to turn the sensor back on in order to continue.”
So now we’re left with the $499 question… did the Xbox One EVER require the Kinect sensor to function? (Probably not). Is this just more Microsoft backtracking in the face of consumer complaints? (Most likely). Were they scared of the proposed We Are Watching You Act? (Maybe, but I doubt it). Are there now plans to sell the Xbox One console without the Kinect sensor?
I hope the answer to that last one is “Yes.” What do you say, Mr. Whitten?