Xbox One will be able to run without Kinect plugged in - tin foil hat wearers rejoice

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."

Kinect Demo

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.

Source: IGN via Polygon

Michael Archambault
  • Yes!
  • Great news! I've never once used or even plugged in a Kinect to my 360. Wasn't wanting to do it with the One, now I'm more inclined to get one. Once I wait a year or so and the price drops & all bugs are worked out. RROD or E74 anyone, lol.
  • Thanks for not making it work... =D
  • The X1 has temperature sensing ability and will go into a low power state if it gets too hot. The fan also has overhead in this event. RROD's will hopefully be a thing of a past.
  • Sometimes I worry that if I use my Kinect while naked that it will get confused and think I have 3 arms.
  • He's a tripod!!!! Its like a baby's arm!
  • I. Don't use Kinect great news for me
  • All the drama and we're finally here. :)
  • Yeah, right we're always been for the past 10 years or so... =/
  • I agree.  I think the XBOX One has gotten significantly worse with all of the 180's by MS.  I was really excited for the freedoms that the DRM restictions made possibly.  I was also excited for devs to hav a good reason to develop innovative uses for kinect.  Thanks to a very loud part of the gaming community we are basically getting a more powerful 360.
  • Count me in, I think same way, I was excited about fast switching and no disks required in disk tray, now ill just have to buy every game digital to have that option, good bye GameStop for sure
  • These are better choices. The possibilities with the DRM were good, but too restrictive. Likewise with the Kinect. My arrangement is such that the Kinect cable is too short, so I either need an extension or only plug in when needed. Back to the DRM, it should have never affected disks, and only the downloaded games currently being shared, not all games. Done. They can still choose to implement this.
  • Only items left is a cheaper setup without a kinect and getting no-disc needed gaming with internet checks optional instead of the initial required 24 hour check.  If users want to dl a disc based game and never use a disc, should be an option and they forfeit their ability to re-sell.  Until they come up with anothe rsolution to re-sell like the one they talked about working with certain retailers/publishers?
  • The thing with the discs required a special ID for each disc, so the system could recognize it and lock it to your account. I think in reversing it, they're just making discs identical to each-other, (like with the 360.) Something that can't be fixed with a software update, but rather, within the manufacturing of the game discs.
    (I could be entirely wrong, but it makes sense, in my mind at least.)
  • You wont see a model with out Kinect, Microsoft said that. The reason is because DEVs wont add features or create games if every system does not come with it.
    Personally, I like the Kinect but, I like now that it can be completely shut off. I still think every system should come with becuse with the new tech in the new Kinect, we could see some really cool stuff and let the devs make it and just shut it off IF you think MS wants to see you in your underwear sitting on your game chair...LOL
    Well, Microsoft has said a lot of things about the xbox one and they pulled it back, so maybe you'll see one cheaper with out the kinect but, I would not count on it..
  • You do understand that it was just once every 24 hours and not all 24 hours or a check every hour for a whole day every day right? =P
  • I think MS needs to stick to their guns on bundling a Kinect with every Xbox.  Its the only way your going to get devs to really implement and take advantage of the sensors.  But MS does have a big problem with the price difference.  A large part of the success of the 360 was that it undercut the PS3 for a long time, and by a lot.  Its already going to be hard to get people to pay $400/500 for a console these days, but its going to be a lot harder when your opponent is $100 cheaper for what is almost the same device (sans Kinect).  Far too many people on sites like this will throw out the suggestion "just decrease the price and take the loss, duhhh!" without actually thinking through the business sense.  But in this case, that might just be what MS has to do.  They can't let themselves fall behind Sony early on, but they shouldn't screw over the long term viability of the platform by fragmenting it with kinectless bundles.  This a crucial time period for MS.  Even though they still enjoy massive profits, there is a general perception that MS is failing, especially with dissapointing Windows 8, WinRT, and Surface numbers.  They need a success story, even if its just in perception.  They can afford the initial loss on hardware if it helps repair their brand and image.
  • The general misconception is that Microsoft will Fail... Microsoft is still the creme of the crop as far as tech companies go. Avg people (i.e. Me and You) are easily tempted in to saying if XBOX fails then Microsoft will go under. As long as Microsoft has been a powerful company avg. people have said its just gonna eventually die out because of one fail or another. Giant Tech companies such as Microsoft and APPLE are built to protect themselves from multiple failures without much of a dent in the overall armor. If Xbox One fails, (which if you look at it for the simple fact that the initial batch of Xbox Ones are sold out just like the PS4 they are already ahead) it would hurt the hardware side of things a little but not really hurt the overall giant that is the software side of Microsoft. 
  • Outside of dance games maybe, devs do not really want to use high latency inputs. Of course, someone might be able to figure out some fun use for Kinect (apart from the dance games).
    But yeah, both MS and Sony will already be taking a loss on each console. Depending on launch success, we might see a "Kinect-free" version quite quickly I believe.
  • It is good that every One will have a Kinect from a development standpoint.
  • Thank you! I just want to play a game like I always have. Roll Tide!
  • Okay, now we will just see how kinect 2 flops as ms drops a Kinectless bundle next year. But good for us who can finally bitch slap all the PS boys with their foil hats. Atleast we still have Xbox sticker.
  • Penello has already stated that a kinectless SKU would not happen.
  • The only way a Kinect-less bundle will happen is if developers don't support it. Hopefully it will be supported, and nay-sayers will begin to see it as an essential. This can be an excellent addition to gaming, and the living room experience.
  • I should have bet on these reversals Xbox one with out Kinect here we come!!!!!
  • Not going to happen. It's been stated from Microsoft 100 times.
  • But they also said 100 times that it was required to be plugged in. That you needed to have the system check-in every 24 hours, that they weren't going to permit used games, etc... There is no reason why they can't change their minds on this. If kinect is rejected (lets face it, it's already rejected before the system even comes out), then why waste money on something that's costing them money. I've heard that at $400 without Kinect the XBone is a draw meaning they neither make nor lose money. However at $500 with kinect, they lose money. Oh and if you sell it without and separately, you can sell it for its actual cost. Some people might change their minds. Rather than getting $500 out of someone, they could get $550 with no changes at all.
  • I hope they keep the same price point and still bundle the Kinect, just for the lolz. It's probably too late to change that now anyway. I'll keep mine plugged in at all times. OH noes they gonna watch me naked.
  • I'm already getting set up with the naked and eating cheetos on a beanbag. ⌒.⌒
  • I was thinking of having a cardboard cutout of me nude for when i'm not playing my games just so the FBI will have something to look at when I'm not there in person (Paranoid I think Not)
  • I had taken it as one of the reasons the 360 couldn't function if the stupid graphics cable wasn't connected...remember those fault lights? It needed to feel feature complete but obviously it just takes a little programming *sigh*
  • What are all these people who worry about this gonna do when we have robots? I'm pretty certain robots will have cameras for eyes, microphones for ears, and will be connected to the internet 24/7. The Kinect is just a start for when that happens... and it will happen.
  • We'll all be long dead before they are that commonplace, thankfully.
  • Speak for yourself because one... they'll be commonplace within twenty years, and two... I plan on living for thousands of years after that.
  • That is actually a reasonable complaint. They should stick with the bundle however. One has to wonder if it was Mattrick holding back Xbox policy all along.
  • Hard to say on Mattrick. I would have to agree with the person who worried about not playing because of a broken required peripheral.
  • They should have been clearer from the off set as it did read like you would end with a £400 VCR if your kinect broke. Also they did say you could shut it off but it will still function as an IR blaster.. so by that definition it is not completely off lol.
    What they should have said is something along the lines, "We are shipping the kinect with every Xbox 1 console as we want developers to utlise the technolgy we developed and by doing so we can ensure everyone has the same experience. If you don't want to use it? that's fine too you can simply run the console without it but you will not be able to use kinect functionalities implemented by developers and utilise the Xbox 1's full potential",
    Instead of trying to be so damn cryptic lol.
  • This announcement doesn't really change very much in the real world. May make some feel better in light of the current NSA news cycle. But the vast majority of people who buy the console will plug in Kinect and happily enjoy its features.
  • They could have made up dates to the system so that it would not require the sensor since their announcement. But as for them saying that it was/is essential part of how XBO functions as they originally intended is still true. With disconnecting the sensor you will not reap the full benefits of the whole system.
  • Is that a fan in back of the Sensor, who would have thought that it would get that hot that it would need it own fan?
  • I think it is because that Kinect V2 has it's own hardware built in, whereas the Kinect V1 relied on the Xbox 360 hardware.
  • "tin foil hat wearers rejoice" wahaha! Loved that one!
  • Gesture support is essential and a differentiating factor for Xbox One, hence the position from Microsoft. Kinect is awesome. I use it all the time to navigate and many games are just geared for it. While Kinect is not an issue for me, I can see where some uninformed or paranoid people could feel otherwise. Technology isn't for everyone I guess.
  • I wanted Kinect to always be connected. If I try to Skype friends I'm now going to get a message half the time telling me they haven't got their Kinect connected.
    If Microsoft do end up selling an X1 without Kinect they'll lose me as a customer.
  • You people with the armadillo and tin foil hats absolutely crack me up! Thank you all for making my day!
  • Good for people who still play xbox in small rooms eg. Bedrooms, dorm rooms etc.
  • It only required 3 feet of space, how small do you think people's rooms are? lol
  • Dorm rooms in the uk are realllly tiny haha. You have a single bed and then about 1 foot to the desk O_o
  • Ouch
  • The new Kinect doesn't need as much space as the last one, it works in almost any room
  • Beautiful headline that sums up the stupidity of the internet mob. I roll my eyes at every stupid comment that said the Kinect would be used to spy on us.
  • I plan on buying the One and leaving the Kinect plugged in all the time. I also plan to dance and jump around in front of my One naked.
    Well, maybe not. But as long as I can talk to the One and navigate using gestures and voice commands I have no worries about the Kinect being on all the time.
  • I think it is OK that it can be unplugged but it is vital that they stick to the policy oh having the Kinect be sold with every xbox.
    If they create a set with no Kinect then it will be doomed again.
  • Ugh, what a mess. I almost feel like MS should do another unveiling event since things have changed so much since it was announced! On the one hand, it's nice that MS is actually considering consumer feedback, but on the other hand, this will just empower and enable the whiners and criers to continue their obnoxious behavior...
  • Boo. 
  • Some of us are not tinfoilers and just have zero inclination to use the Kinect in any fashion (also why I never bought a Wii). I'm still holding out hope that down the line a Kinect-less SKU is offered.
  • That's fair enough but through having Kinect as standard may encourage innovation from developers and then your plans to not use it may change.
  • Now give us a Kinect-less SKU that's $100 cheaper. I'll be first in line.
  • Quality looks fantastic.  Can't wait to see new Kinect Hacks.  I wonder how soon after release we can connect it to PCs.  The technology appears to be different from the PrimeSense cameras, so I wonder if there's an open source sdk for it, or if we'll have to wait for Kinect 2 for PC with MSFT sdk.  I'm interested in using kinect 2 for pointcloud captures, bvh mocap export.
  • Cool! Well i'm still buying an XONE. All the launch games have me very excited, most notably Killer Instinct.
  • "tin foil hat wearers" - pretty stupid comment tbh. Making fun of concerned customers never helps.
    The whole article, especially the end, reads like an official MS bulletin. We all love our Microsoft stuff here but no need for fandom. MS is no charity organisation, they want our money.
  • Did you just get yours polished?
    There's a big difference between a concerned customer, and an overly paranoid one.
  • I do not agree with you but at least you are funny ;-))
  • As long as they are not stupid enough to offer a Kinectless sku, the ability to unplug shouldnt hurt developement. I bet most of the Kinect haters will wind up using Kinect anyway...even if just for the system features of instant user recognition, controller preference loading, scanning likeness into game and avatar etc.  Cant wait to say "Xbox on" myself.
  • We will find out, however I am sure now a Kinectless Sku will be out to match the PS4
  • The kinect is probably a direct video link to the NSA and their overlords anyway.
  • All my components are in rack in another room, including my current X-360. So being able to disable the Kinect is ok. I use logitec 900 with RF to control all AV equipment
  • If you disconnect the kinect you pretty much lose all the functions that were demoed at the announcement. It basically becomes an xbox 360 with better graphics. The tin foil hat people astound me. They actually think their life is interesting enough for someone to spy on them.  Spying on everyone i impossible. There is just to much data to sift through. The NSA has to key in on certain individuals and look for certain key words. If they are using the kinect to spy on people, I am pretty sure they will permentantly delete the connection when they see the fat ass gamer in his underwear playing video games.
  • Or it could be folks like me who probably don't care to use the thing or its features. Not everyone is paranoid And why is it a bad thing to be an Xbox 360 with better graphics?
  • Believe it or not there is a lot of people who want a videogame console to, you know... play videogames.
  • Next-Gen is bringing nothing to the table :( Now that Kinect is no longer manditory Devs no longer need to program for it. Makes me sad becasue I loved the ideas I saw from dead rising and Ryse, yelling archers fire and seeing it, instead of ahving to use button mashing or a submenu is very cool: or how in Dead Rising they used the voice to have zombies listen so if your creeping around and you sneeze you better run! But now its pointless :(  
  • Um people can just keep using the console if the Kinect is broken or disconnected....that is all.
  • I was actually pretty excited about it being integrated into the console, well as long as it appeals to more consumers.
  • Canceling my XBONE and ordering a PS4. Enough of this crap.
  • Yeah because that way you're guaranteed fragmented peripheral support from the get go. Smooth move!
  • Love how people who question things are thought to be crazy. Stick to the flock say the obedient.
  • Once the Kinect has been implemented in EVERY game and not just sum voice commands and not just for"Xbox on Xbox off" many people will use it including me but as it stands I won't actually need it to play my games I will need the controller
  • Just because you 'Muricans are used to and OK with Government and companies spying on you, the rest of the World frowns upon that. Your President Hussein has no business in my country, let alone my house.
    Just because we don't want the American government possibly spying on us, it doesn't mean we're tin foil hat wearers. 
    So this response from Microsoft is most welcome! Now all I need to see is Xbox One without the kinect included an, therefore, at a lower price. Then I *might* consider it instead of the PS4 if/when the moment of leaving my PS3 arrives.
  • Wow the douche is strong with this one.
  • I hate any kind of political nonsense on a site that isn't about politics.
    But....last I recall, our President's last name was Obama, not Hussein.
  • Lol no more Kinect spying, but people have smartphones, tablets etc.... Just saying...
  • Now everyone is going to say once again xbox 180. Ugh. I can't deal.
  • Tin foil hat wearers is right, this is a joke.  We are talking about a game system.  You know how Hitler took control of Germany... Fear.  Well it's back.  Everyone Fears the governments of the world are looking in on us.  How important do you think you are that the government is going to be checking in on you.  And if they did, after a few minutes of watching you... well it would be a waste of their time.  I embrace new tech and the new kinect is going to be great, some things will be dumb, to some people, but it will ignite others to think in ways never thought of before and bring out products that will continue to push the envelope of fun.  People stop fearing so much and have fun.  The only reason to fear is because you are doing something you shouldn't be and your guilt is playing on your fears.  Take off the tin foil hats and play a fun game and relax, there is plenty of other things to worry about in this world than a the few hours a week you spend playing video games wondering if someone is watching you playing games in your boxer shorts eating cold pizza and messy hair.
  • Tin foil hat wearers and, you know... reasonable people who use common sense.