When the Xbox One was announced, a lot of fans were unhappy. They didn’t like the DRM. Gone. The Used game policy. Gone. Now what about that required Kinect camera? Gone and Gone.

In an interview with IGN, Microsoft’s Marc Whitten shared the news that unlike already stated, you won’t need the camera for the system to function. “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,” he said. Drilled down to its most basic, you won’t be able to control the system with your voice or do the sort of weird pinching motion to change what’s on your screen. “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.”

Though the system will still ship with Kinect (don’t expect a cheaper bundle without the peripheral anytime soon), this latest flop comes on the heels of a rapid series of changes for the Xbox One that change the system dramatically from what was first shown months ago at the reveal.


Microsoft Senior Executive Albert Penello posted on Neogaf after the announcement that this doesn’t mean that the publisher is giving up on Kinect:

“We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base. The more demos I’ve seen, the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.  We also have a ton of privacy settings to allow people to turn off the camera, or microphones, or put it in a state just for “Xbox On” and IR blasting – there will be a lot of user control for that.  The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible.  The most obvious thing is watching a DVD/BD, or streaming a movie, or HDMI pass-through, your experience isn’t impacted (except you miss voice and IR blasting) There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work.  That said, for people who have privacy concerns there are user control settings, which we believe are great.

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Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

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