It appears that Microsoft may have had another policy change (or at least being more clear) with regards to its mandatory Kinect device. Whilst the Xbox One will still ship with Kinect, Marc Whitten has said, speaking to IGN last week that Kinect can be switched off entirely and suggests Kinect can be unplugged and the Xbox One still perform non-Kinect based functions — such as playing games.
Marc Whitten said:
“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,”
and went on to say:
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.”
Previously it was made clear that Kinect had to be plugged in for the Xbox One to function and raised concerns over privacy with consumers. Microsoft, has always reaffirmed that Kinect’s privacy settings can be tailored to suit the user at any time. Either way, for those concerned, this is good news and we will no doubt have an official statement from Microsoft in due course.