Microsoft backs off yet another controversial policy

Xbox One will work without Kinect

The Xbox One will no longer need to be plugged in to the Kinect sensor to work, Microsoft has revealed.

This is the latest in a string of policy changes, including the announcement the new console would support self-publishing and not require a daily internet connection.

Microsoft’s chief Xbox One platform architect Marc Whitten even mentioned one of these changes when breaking the news in response to consumer questions on 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,” said Whitten.

“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.”

While some have praised Microsoft’s commitment to motion control through the decision to ship Xbox One packaged with Kinect 2.0, the more vocal discussion has centered on the potential security issues posed by connecting a video camera to an always-on console.

Microsoft has decided to back off these contentious points, but Whitten was still adamant the Xbox One was a better system for its embedded Kinect functions.

“It makes gaming better in many ways,” he said, “from the ability to say ‘Xbox On’ and get right to your personalized homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more.”

It has been noted that the PlayStation 4 doesn’t come with motion control, and that Microsoft might be able to drop its lowest offering price from $500 to the rival system’s $400 if it sold a package without the Kinect.

For now though, Microsoft is sticking to its plan of making the Kinect an integral part of the living room experience, even if its console can now function without the device.

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