Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will never be sold without the Kinect sensor, despite the fact it doesn’t need Kinect to function.
The American software giant ditched the always-on Kinect requirement for the Xbox One in its latest policy reversal, but has reiterated that it will not sell the Xbox One without the Kinect.
Albert Penello, Microsoft’s Product Planning Manager, said the company isn’t looking to split the development base, with Xbox’s Marc Whitten adding that the Xbox One is designed to work best with the motion gaming peripheral.
“We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base”, said Penello. “The more demos I’ve seen the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.”
The latest in a long line of policy reversals, Microsoft announced earlier this week that the Xbox One won’t require the Kinect to be always-on, despite its initial statement that the Xbox One would require an always tethered Kinect to function.
“The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100 per cent comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged.”
However, Whitten stressed the importance of Kinect to get the full Xbox One entertainment experience.
“Xbox One is designed to work with Kinect plugged in,” said Whitten. “It makes gaming better in many ways – from the ability to say ‘Xbox On’ and get right to your personalised homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more.”
“Kinect allows you to search for your content, instantly move between games and your personalised dash and more with just your voice. Kinect helps you pick up and play by automatically knowing which controller you have in your hands. No more need to interrupt your friends game or navigate through multiple UI screens to sign in and tell the system which controller you are holding.”
Many Xbox One followers had concerns about the privacy controls on the Xbox One Kinect, worried that it was always listening, and potentially recording too.
“You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information,” explained Whitten. “Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work. We will still support using it for IR blasting in this mode. You can turn the sensor back on at any time through settings.”
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