Microsoft’s Xbox One will come bundled with a Kinect 2.0 camera, designed by Microsoft to allow the console to be operated by voice commands and gestures. When the Xbox One was revealed, Microsoft said that the console would not work without the Kinect camera plugged in.
Weeks later, the company backtracked slightly on the requirements, saying that Kinect had to be plugged into the console, but could be turned off for those who were wary of privacy issues that surrounded Kinect’s always-on microphone that would listen for your voice commands.
In a recent interview with IGN, Microsoft’s Chief Xbox One architect, Marc Whitten, confirmed to IGN readers that the Xbox One now no longer needs Kinect to be plugged in to allow the console to operate normally. Removing or disabling Kinect will now only disable the ability to control the console using voice commands and gestures.
Q: Since Kinect must be plugged in for the Xbox One to function, what happens if your Kinect breaks? Like if it falls off the top of your TV onto a hardwood floor or something? Will the console cease to function?
Whitten: 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. That said, like [our] online [policy], 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.
IGN readers asked a myriad of questions ranging from platform cross-chat, to Smartglass integration, headset bundling and separate achievements for the same game on each platform (yes, its possible to earn double, even triple Gamerscore for multiple versions of the same game). Another question was fielded about how Kinect would work if turned off and needed to be turned back on again:
Q: How “off” can Kinect be when the system is in use?
Whitten: You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. 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.
Xbox One will launch sometime during Holiday 2013 bundled with the Kinect sensor, a redesigned controller and a mono audio headset for a recommended price of US $499, £429.99 or €499. Local availability or pricing has yet to be determined.