Back in May, Microsoft was adamant in its stance that the Xbox One will require the Kinect to operate. Fast forward a few months later and the company has again performed another 180 on one of its "features." Microsoft's Marc Whitten has revealed the Kinect is no longer mandatory for the Xbox One.
"That said, 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," he told IGN. While we've had a feeling this sort of thing could be possible, given that Microsoft has already said the Xbox One can function with the Kinect on pause (or even turned off), the notion of unplugging the Kinect was always rejected by Microsoft.
"You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings," he added. "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," Whitten concluded.
So now the big question is how long until Microsoft begins offering a Kinect-less Xbox One bundle? The idea has already been floating around the internet as a rumor. Last month, rumors regarding the summer 2014 release of two additional Xbox One systems, both of which would allegedly ship without the Kinect peripheral, were reported by Inside Gaming Daily, and immediately shot down by Microsoft who reiterated, "We have no plans to introduce an Xbox One without Kinect."
While conspiracy theorists can rest easy now, the fact remains that consumers are still forced to fork over an extra $100 for a peripheral they may not want — and no longer need. Why? Because Microsoft wants to convince developers that the Kinect has an installed user base, and what better way to do so then force everyone who buys a Xbox One to have one — even if they don't necessarily want it.
All I know is that if Microsoft comes out with a Kinect-less Xbox One for $400, I'm sold. How about you?