Login | Signup

Microsoft: Xbox One Will Work Without Kinect Sensor After All

Jonathan Lester
Kinect, Microsoft, U-Turn, Xbox One

Microsoft: Xbox One Will Work Without Kinect Sensor After All

That's right, folks: it's time for another Microsoft U-Turn! Though the Xbox One will still ship with Kinect as standard, the console will function if you don't plug the sensor in or fully deactivate it from the settings menu.

Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten, who's fast becoming the voice of Microsoft's upcoming entertainment system, confirmed the new details to IGN. “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,” he revealed.

Apparently privacy-minded players can also fully deactivate the sensor. “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.”

Originally, Microsoft suggested that Xbox One simply wouldn't function without the peripheral, but this latest policy U-turn will come as welcome news to many. Instead of forcing players to use the peripheral, Whitten hopes that the carrot will be infinitely more effective than the stick.

"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," he argued. "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."

Personally, we reckon that the Kinect-enabled UI could well be one of the Xbox One's major selling points, though we'll naturally need to test it out before making any value judgements.

This new about-face is just the latest in a string of crowd-pleasing reversals following a vocal backlash against some of the more controversial Xbox One features - a response that Peter Molyneux recently described as "unfair."

So, now, the big question remains: will Microsoft reveal a Kinect-less Xbox One package to compete with the PS4 on price? They've stringently denied it, but when it comes to Xbox One, seemingly nothing is set in stone.


Add a comment5 comments
Late  Aug. 13, 2013 at 10:21

How refreshing - a U-Turn that takes away something that was unpopular and unworkable and instead gives us something that people want, whilst simultaneously getting Microsoft some good press.

Quietus  Aug. 13, 2013 at 10:30

We should band together, and save them some U-turns. Let's just issue them with a shopping list now, so that they don't have to do it in small steps.

wigby  Aug. 13, 2013 at 10:51

We should band together, and save them some U-turns. Let's just issue them with a shopping list now, so that they don't have to do it in small steps.

Don't Sony fanboys call this "listening to customers"?.

A good move by MS that shows they are Not into any of the tin hat conspiracy theory.
I just hope they do NOT sell a separate bundle...

Tsung  Aug. 13, 2013 at 11:19

Ha!, I wonder how many titles will REQUIRE the Kinect Sensor and thus makes the U-Turn nothing more than a token gesture.
Remember up to now it was considered a requirement to operate the console so I wouldn't be surprised if the game developers have developed their games with this in mind.

JonLester  Aug. 13, 2013 at 14:41

I've got one major concern about this otherwise pleasing news. If Kinect is no longer mandatory, surely many potential consumers will (understandably) ask:

"If Kinect isn't technically required, why should I have to pay extra for it?"

Microsoft needs to go big on showing us loads of impressive functionality at Gamescom to make this stick. Personally, I reckon the voice-enabled UI is one of the most exciting Xbox One features, so here's hoping they really start pushing it over the next few weeks.

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.