In a world where people don’t feel like being monitored 24/7 and the NSA just might have control over your devices with the snap of a finger, Xbox One’s always on Kinect was a big issue for many consumers. Yesterday Microsoft announced that the company would be doing another 180 on their policies and allow the Xbox One to be used without a Kinect plugged in to the unit.
Marc Whiten explained the new decision to IGN, stating that users would still be able to use the console without the Kinect sensor plugged in, but any feature or experience that made use of the sensor would be made unavailable.
Microsoft claims that the change was made in response to a NeoGAF poster voicing his concern of having an unusable console if his Kinect sensor were to fall from his television set and break. Albert Penello, Microsoft’s senior director of product planning, stated that:
"The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable," he wrote. "We wanted people to be 100 percent comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the 'it dropped' scenario is possible."
Up until Microsoft made this recent policy change, they claimed that the Kinect was “an essential and integrated” piece of the Xbox One. While not as clear as they could have been, the company did state that users would have the ability to “completely turn the sensor off in your settings”, which would shut down any functions that rely on voice, video, or gesture.
Food for thought: If Microsoft’s original claim that the Kinect was an “essential” part of Xbox One was true, then why would you be able to shut off the sensor and still be able to use the system without trouble?
Either way, Microsoft has done it again and responded to what their customers want to see. You can view it as a company who keeps backtracking or as a company who really cares about customer experience.
Feel safe world, Kinect doesn’t have to watch you.