If their seems to be one constant in the lead up to the launch of the next generation of consoles, it’s that Microsoft will alter their policy. They’ve changed their self publishing policy for Xbox Live, added a headset to the box instead of just using Kinect, created an adapter for current generation gaming headsets, allowed used games, abandoned their 24 hour online check in, and now say that the console can in fact function without Kinect. This is after the company had said since it’s reveal it would need to be plugged in at all times.
In an interview with IGN today, Mark Whitten, Xbox One’s chief product officer, was asked if the console itself could function without the Kinect. For example, if your Kinect fell down and hit the floor, breaking in the process, would you have to buy an entirely new console? Whitten said the following “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.”
Whitten was also asked about how “off” Kinect can actually be. He replied saying that it can put into a mode where it collects no data at all. That being said, in that mode it will still be able to be used for Infrared blasting (Common uses for this, according to Wikipedia, are remotes for TVs and cable boxes. One would assume that will be how Microsoft plans on allowing cable remotes work on Xbox One). The Kinect can then be turned back on when you start a Kinect centered game.
This reporter’s opinion: This is another smart move for Microsoft. In all honesty, I have had more technology break due to stupidity, and my animals grabbing the cords, then age. This is also great for those who have concerns over privacy, especially with the recent NSA/Edward Snowden scandals, that they can simply unplug the camera and the console will continue to function.
by, Bobby Marquardt