news\ Aug 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Microsoft '100% all in on Kinect' for Xbox One

Xbox One Kinect 2.0

Despite the fact that the Xbox One no longer requires the Kinect peripheral to be plugged in for the system to operate, Microsoft has no plans to introduce a Kinect-less SKU. This comes from Xbox One frontman Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) who reiterated that Microsoft is "100% all in on Kinect."

"We 100% believe in Kinect - it's got some amazing potential that will be unlocked with this new generation," Hryb told gamers in a Reddit Q&A. When prodded further by gamers skeptical of Microsoft's constant back and forth, Hryb reiterated Microsoft has "no plans for [a non-Kinect Xbox One bundle]."

"We are 100% all in on Kinect," he said.

On Monday, it was confirmed that the Kinect, which comes bundled with the Xbox One for $500, would no longer be mandatory for the system to operate. Owners can choose to turn the Kinect off through the system's settings or completely unplug it. Doing either renders the Kinect and its voice-and-body-recognition functionality useless, but it the change seems to appease the conspiracists wary of Microsoft and its ability to "spy on you" with the Kinect.

The goal for Microsoft from the beginning has clearly been to get the Kinect into people's homes (to convince developers its worth exploring), as evident by the company's decision to not only bundle the peripheral with each Xbox One, but convince everyone that it was mandatory for the system to operate. Now that the latter has been removed, there is some hope among those not willing pay the full $500 that Microsoft could introduce a Kinect-less SKU for $100 cheaper. Doing so would almost certainly lead to an increase in pre-orders for the system as it would allow Microsoft to sell the Xbox One standalone at a more competitive price with the PlayStation 4, which is priced at $399 without the PS Eye (Sony's sort-of-equivalent to the Kinect).

When I reached out to Microsoft about the possibility of a Kinect-less Xbox One bundle, I was given the typical PR fluff:

“Though we’ve changed this requirement, Kinect is still an essential and integrated part of the Xbox One platform.  By having it as a consistent part of every Xbox One, game and entertainment creators can build experiences that assume the availability of voice, gesture and natural sensing, leading to unrivaled ease of use, premium experiences and interactivity for consumers. We also strongly believe that once you try the all-new Kinect and the game and entertainment experiences it enhances or enables, you won’t want to use your Xbox One without it.”

Do you plan on buying a launch version of Xbox One with Kinect, or do you plan on holding out for a Kinect-less SKU?

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