Microsoft has delivered yet another stroke in their revamped policy campaign for their next-gen console by revealing that the Xbox One no longer requires the Kinect sensor to be operational in order to function.
Previously, Microsoft had maintained that the Xbox One and the Kinect went hand-in-hand and that they were reliant upon one another to work, yet this new update shows the company conforming to the wishes of the gaming sphere by molding the console to be more like Sony’s community-popular PlayStation 4.
According to the news, the Kinect 2.0 sensor can be turned off via on-screen settings, where its integral functionality will remain dormant and instead be utilized as an IR blaster for connectivity with various remote controls.
Additionally users can unplug the sensor altogether and the Xbox One will still be functional, yet Microsoft has designed their next-gen console to be reliant upon the sensor itself and although it will be playable, gamers may miss out on some of the more convenient features.
While the sensor is turned off or unplugged, users will be able to play games as well as access an array of entertainment apps–however they will not be able to make use of the Kinect’s flagship operations including live webcam and voice/gesture controls.
The news comes by way of the recent “Ask Microsoft Anything” segment held on IGN, where select community questions were answered by Microsoft’s Marc Whitten.
Below is a quote of the original question posed by a community member within the AMA with Whitten’s response:
Since Kinect must be plugged in for the Xbox One to function, what happens if your Kinect breaks? Like if it falls off the top of your TV onto a hardwood floor or something? Will the console cease to function?
WHITTEN: …Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay.
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.
This update follows suit with the company’s current aim to refine the Xbox One’s overall public image and redeem the system’s hotly contested policies.
In the last few months, Microsoft has made many u-turns in the way of Xbox One policies, starting first with the overhaul in the console’s previous always-online requirements and then with the more recent re-designed Home Gold sharing policies for Xbox LIVE.
Whether or not these moves will be a step in the right direction will remain to be seen, however as it stands it looks as if Microsoft’s Xbox One is becoming more and more like it’s rival, the PlayStation 4. We now know that the Xbox One can be used to play games offline and with the Kinect sensor removed–which is good news to all gamers who can do without the convenient features or accidentally break it.
While we’ve previously heard back in May that the Kinect could be turned off, Whitten’s AMA responses reveal that the sensor can not only be turned off, but can be unplugged altogether–which is in itself surprising news and may afford to the possibility of a cheaper Kinect-less Xbox One “core” console.
This is an interesting move as Microsoft has reportedly spent quite a pretty penny manufacturing the Kinect 2.0 sensor, which one developer affirmed that the sensor’s manufacturing costs are “almost as much as the [Xbox One]” itself.
The Redmond-based gaming giant is quite busy as the Xbox One’s November release window nears, and to prepare they will no doubt roll out even more news and updates at major gaming events like Gamescom and this year’s Tokyo Game Show.
Also if you’ve missed the recent Xbox One unboxing be sure to check it out here–especially if you’re curious to see what comes in the box.