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Microsoft said shortly after the reveal of the Xbox One that the Kinect must always be on and was an “essential and integrated part of the the platform.” In an attempt to attract more interest in the console before it launches and to address the concerns of the gaming community at large, Microsoft has revealed that console no longer requires the Kinect to function but by doing so, you inherently loose some functionality such as player identification, voice commands, gesture recognition, ect.
Marc Whitten of Micosoft Xbox One chief product officer told IGN that every Xbox One will ship with Kinect and that the console will still function without it.
“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.” Interesting enough, you’ll have the ability to “completely” turn off the Kinect in the system settings thus disabling the any data that the camera collects such as sound and general sensoring.
“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,” he said
Whitten has also confirmed that there will be no cross-platform voice chat between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Though there will be exceptions such as text messages and the Xbox 360 and Xbox one users will be able to see what games they’re playing.
Gaming After Hours perspective
This news comes to some surprise to us and as IGN has stated, having Microsoft removing the required Kinect connectivity provides an option for them to sell a “Kinect-free” system. For us, this also could provide Microsoft the option to sell the Kinect separately. There is a strong possibility that the system will still require you to [at least] probably set up the Kinect regardless of if you want it or not but with all this new information, we think there will be less people actually duck-taping the Kinect sensors to protect their privacy.