Microsoft has just announced that the Xbox One no longer requires Kinect to be plugged in all the time. Earlier the motion sensing device was mandatory for the console to function normally.
In an interview with IGN, Xbox Corporate VP Marc Whitten explained, “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 further added,”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.”
Albert Penello, Microsoft’s senior director of product planning explained to NeoGAF the main reason behind this change. “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 percent comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the ‘it dropped’ scenario is possible.”
Looks like the console wars are heating up now, especially if during launch Microsoft somehow manages to lower the console’s price.