It sounds like Microsoft has been listening to the outcry and backlash of fans, as the company has revealed yet another policy reversal; this time, dealing with the Kinect.
Originally, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One is unable to function without the presence of the Kinect, as most of the UI features rely heavily on the peripheral. It looks like that’s out the window, as Xbox CPO Mark Whitten revealed with IGN that the One will no longer require the Kinect to operate:
“Xbox One is designed to work with Kinect plugged in. It makes gaming better in many ways…Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. 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.”
Kinect integration allows for voice commands for the Xbox One UI and certain titles, gesture controls, and automatic controller-to-console binding, along with the more obvious motion-tracking feature. Whitten also stated that the motion-sensor can also be turned off through the “Settings” option, which negates the idea of the Kinect “always watching” its users.
Sources: IGN, GamesRadar