In yet another reversal of policy, Microsoft chief product officer Marc Whitten has confirmed via IGN that the Xbox One will be able to function without the use of Kinect.
In a question regarding the Xbox One’s functionality should the Kinect break, Whitten has confirmed that although every Xbox One will ship with a Kinect, the console will still function if it isn’t plugged in.
“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.”
Whitten has also added that users will be able to “completely” turn off the Kinect as well. While the Kinect is off, it will not be collecting any information at all.
“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.”
It is unclear at this point if Microsoft would be selling a cheaper Kinect-free version of the system but this news would suggest that it could be a possibility.