That’s right, folks, you read that right. According to Koatku (LOL), Microsoft just recently announced today that the dreaded mandatory Kinect connection for the Xbox One has been shot down. As stated in the article:
“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,” he said.
Asked just how “off” the Kinect can be, Whitten answered totally off.
“You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. 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.”
Further down the article, Microsoft senior executive Albert Penello clarifies about the decision:
We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base. The more demos I’ve seen, the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.
We also have a ton of privacy settings to allow people to turn off the camera, or microphones, or put it in a state just for “Xbox On” and IR blasting – there will be a lot of user control for that.
The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible.
The most obvious thing is watching a DVD/BD, or streaming a movie, or HDMI pass-through, your experience isn’t impacted (except you miss voice and IR blasting)
There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work.
Wow! No game DRM?! No mandatory Kinect?! Man, the Xbox One is totally worth buying now! Right? Well, let me mention something real fast.
Back when Microsoft announced all of their policies, the consumer backlash was immense. People didn’t want Microsoft’s terrible DRM or invasive Kinect in their homes. People wanted them to change, but Microsoft repeatedly stated that they had no plans on changing any of the Xbox One policies. Eventually they went back on their word and changed the video game DRM back, which garnered some people back to their side. Now that they’ve announced that the Kinect camera will no longer be mandatory as well, people are flocking back to the Xbox One. Now, I’ve previously stated that I do not want an Xbox One mainly for the fact that I get all “tin foil conspiracy”-y when it comes to the always on camera bull. So do I want an Xbox One now that they’ve changed their policies?
No, and here’s why.
Microsoft has shown how much they actually care about consumers already through these policies. They’ve shown that they’re ready to pounce on any opportunity to make a quick profit, and I find it saddening that people are running back to Microsoft’s new policies when they’ve seen how ready they were to screw over the consumer at a moment’s notice.
I’ll state it like this: If you truly believe that Microsoft has changed their ways and care about your consumer rights, then you have zero respect for yourself as a consumer and your consumer rights. It’s not just Microsoft that I hold to this standard either; Sony and Nintendo are expected to live up to this expectation as well. The only difference between Microsoft and Sony/Nintendo is that Sony and Nintendo aren’t completely stupid in the fact that they know how the public would react if they tried the same stunts as Microsoft did. They’v’e been in the video game industry longer than Microsoft has, so they know what they can and can’t get away with, even though Sony took a tip from Microsoft and started charging for online features because it turns out that people are okay with that. Idiots, I swear.
I’m not stopping you from buying an Xbox One, but if you are getting one, I’m seriously curious as to what appeal there is to you. Microsoft’s true motives have simply been covered up by a pretty veil of “Oh, we changed that so now we’ve changed as a company.” They’re truly a bad company in every sense of the phrase. Throw in some awful exclusives like Ryse, Halo, and Forza,charge an extra $100 for a system that’s bound to break down, and I see nothing but the WORST that next gen has to offer. If you’re buying an Xbox One, please, seriously tell me why.