Xbox One Can Operate Without Kinect Plugged In


Xbox One chief product officer, Marc Whitten has gone on record saying that the Kinect sensor is not required for the Xbox One to operate. This directly contradicts reports all of the reports we’ve heard out of the Xbox camp since the Xbox One was announced. Instead of being a required piece of hardware, it sounds like the Kinect sensor will once again be a complimentary peripheral. In a statement to IGN, Whitten responded to a question about how a broken Kinect sensor would affect the Xbox One’s ability to function. this is what he said,

Xbox One is designed to work with Kinect plugged in. It makes gaming better in many ways – 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. Kinect allows you to search for your content, instantly move between games and your personalized 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. It will even bind the controller to the console if its currently unbound – no searching for special buttons! Of course – these are just a few of the system wide benefits of having Kinect. Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay.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.

This revelation begs the question; Why is the Kinect sensor still being forced upon gamers? If it’s not necessary for the console to operate, why does it need to be part of the hardware bundle? Wouldn’t an Xbox One bundle without the Kinect sensor bring the price point down to being competitive with Sony‘s PlayStation 4?

This news comes just months before the Xbox One launch. It seems that just about every one of the unpopular policies that hastened gamers towards the PS4 are falling by the wayside. Things like persistent internet connections, DRM, use of Microsoft Points, and a chat headset being included in the day one bundle have all changed based on customer feedback. However, this time it seems like less of a compromise and more of a steady stream of misinformation that’s been fed to gamers everywhere. If Whitten casually admits that Kinect isn’t necessary for the Xbox One to operate, then why has a contradictory message been delivered to us for months?

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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