It looks like Microsoft is taking another U-turn by clarifying that its new Xbox One console will even work without plugging in the new Kinect sensor.
In an interview
with IGN, Microsoft's Marc Whitten, Chief Xbox One Platform Architect, responded to a question on whether the console would work even without the Kinect sensor plugged in, saying that it would indeed function but features that make use of the sensor won't work. He explained,"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."
Previously, Microsoft had mentioned that the Xbox One will not function without the Kinect sensor, as noted by an IGN report
Xbox's UK marketing director Harvey Eagle had said that "Kinect does require to be connected to Xbox One in all cases, yes."
It's interesting to note that Microsoft includes Kinect in the standard Xbox One package, which implies it's not optional. The Xbox One costs $500, and one of the reasons given for the high price is the inclusion of the Kinect sensor. It's worth noting that PlayStation 4, Xbox One's competitor in the next-generation gaming console wars, does not include a bundled motion sensor, and is priced $100 cheaper than Microsoft' console. (Also see: PS4 priced $100 cheaper than Xbox One
Whitten also informed that users will get the ability to completely turn the sensor off in the console's settings. In this mode, the sensor will not collect any information but the console will support using the sensor for IR blasting. Also, if the user tries to access any feature that requires Kinect functionality, the console will prompt the user to turn it back on.
Microsoft had also clarified earlier that a simple "Xbox off" voice command
, will switch off Kinect while users enjoy the entertainment features of the console and the only command that the sensor will recognise that time would be "Xbox on". Users could even switch off this feature, if they wished to.
It's not the first time that Microsoft has retracted from its original stance with the Xbox One. In June, Microsoft took a U-turn by backing off plans for the Xbox One consoles to require constant Internet connections and put restrictions on playing second-hand disk games
after wide spread outrage among the media and gaming community and the good response to PlayStation 4 pre bookings that does not have any such restrictions.
PS4 vs. Xbox One: The next gen gaming wars