In yet another abrupt and radical policy reversal, Microsoft today confirmed that the Xbox One will no longer require the Kinect camera for regular operation. The motives for the change range from consumer outrage in response to potential privacy infringements to the obvious goal of reducing price in order to stay competitive with the PlayStation 4’s $400 price tag. With that said, whether or not the subtraction of Kinect will reduce the XOne’s price has yet to be confirmed.
Chief Xbox One Platform Architect Marc Whitten commented on the change, confirming that “like 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.” Continuing on, Whitten clarified peripheral function support, saying, “Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work.” In addition, he was able to confirm that Microsoft still supports “using it for IR blasting in this mode.”
Despite the lessened emphasis, Whitten is still confident in the Kinect’s mettle. “It makes gaming better in many ways,” he said. “From the ability to say ‘Xbox On’ and get right to your personalized homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more.”