Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Microsoft: Kinect No Longer Mandatory for Xbox One

That's right, you heard it correctly, Microsoft has backtracked again over a controversial feature in the Xbone.

IGN reports that from one of their Ask Microsoft Anything Q&A sessions, Xbox Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten came out stating that gamers will still be able to play games and watch media on the Xbone without the Kinect sensor plugged in.

So while this obviously disables the likes of voice commands and "wave your hands in the air" control methods, some people will be more than happy with this. There had been growing concern since the original device reveal about what would happen if the Kinect became damaged? Would you not be able to use your Xbox?

Well, so it seems you can still play games and use the media controls to a degree. It will disable some of the tent-pole features that Microsoft have defined for the Xbone, but at least it allays some of the fears about it. A lot of people did not like the fact that the Kinect sensor was always on, always listening for the "Xbox On" command. Some people even, in some paranoid way, believed that the Xbox would be constantly monitoring the room and could even be recording conversations, seeing as the microphone on the sensor was always on.

However, there are still some questions left around this. Should you wish to disconnect the Kinect sensor, are games going to be affected? Microsoft is keen to have kinect support built in to almost every game, so having it disconnected could affect the gaming experience. Then there is the much reported patent that Microsoft holds where Kinect can identify how many people are in a room watching a film and it's supposed ability to determine if you hold the correct licence to show the film to that many people.

In my mind, I never really liked Kinect on the Xbox 360, so the ability to use the Xbone without it pleases me to a degree. Should I get my hands on an Xbone, I would prefer not to use the Kinect sensor at all. Time will tell how much of an impact disconnecting it will have on the experience.


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