The reversals just keep coming. After an overwhelmingly negative reception, Microsoft has kept busy over the last few months reversing nearly every bad decision they made with the Xbox One, essentially rebuilding the platform and its misguided policies from the ground up. The result has been a storm of policy changes, including less restrictive DRM, self-publishing for indie developers,shipping a headset with each console and dropping those god awful Microsoft Points.
Now, the Xbox One is more closely resembling the follow-up to the Xbox 360 I wanted to see back in May. More on their latest policy change after the jump.
In a Q&A session with IGN, Microsoft’s Marc Whitten confirmed the Kinect is not required to use the Xbox One, saying “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.” Previously, the device needed to be connected to the console in order for it to function.
The idea of an always-listening camera that may or may not be connected to the Internet, lurking and waiting for you to talk to it didn’t sit well with a lot of people.
Microsoft did say the peripheral could be turned off in the settings prior to this latest change, but now that we can just turn the thing off I suspect many gamers will take that route. If you would rather keep the Kinect connected but switched off, the console will let you know when you’re trying to use a feature that requires the peripheral so you can reactivate it.
This is more good news, because it means we may see a cheaper, Kinect-free Xbox One bundle after the console launches this November. For me, the $499 price tag is the only serious barrier of entry left. How about you?