Kinect no longer required for Xbox One to function

Console can be used with device unplugged, says Microsoft's Marc Whitten

Microsoft appears to have made yet another revision to its Xbox One user policy - the included Kinect sensor is no longer required to be connected for the console to function.

That's according to chief Xbox One platform architect Marc Whitten, who told gamers in a Q&A session via IGN that the console can still be used even when the Kinect is disconnected.


"Like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in," he confirmed. "Although you won't be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor," he went on to clarify.

This seemingly backtracks on previous plans to make the Kinect sensor a mandatory requirement for the new Xbox to operate.

Elsewhere in the Q&A Whitten confirmed that Xbox One users will not be able to party chat with Xbox 360 users, but text messages are cross-gen compatible. Xbox One users will, at launch, also be able to arrange their Xbox Live friends lists into 'favorites', with more categorised features to come in future.

Whitten also spoke in more detail on the options provided to deactivate a connected Kinect sensor.

"You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information," he said.

"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."

Microsoft confirmed the ability to turn Kinect 'completely off' in May in response to widespread fears over privacy. Microsoft later assured soon-to-be Xbox One owners that the firm has 'prioritized your privacy' with the device.

Xbox One will be available in 21 markets this November. The Xbox One price has been set at £425 / €499 / $499.

CVG today published an interview with Xbox Accessories general manager Zulfi Alam, who discussed in detail the many improvements the firm has made to the more conventional next-gen controller and how it will improve gaming on Xbox One.