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Xbox One Confirmed to Function Without Kinect

by William Schwartz

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In an ongoing “Ask Microsoft Anything” article over at IGN with Xbox One Chief Platform Architect, Marc Whitten, there has just been confirmation of something many people were wondering. Will the Xbox One cease to function without Kinect? The short answer is now a definite “no”.

The article, which has been running since last Monday, has already answered some of the questions fans and bloggers have been shooting Microsoft’s way since this year’s E3 such as Xbox One’s game DVR capabilities, duplicate Achievements and whether XBLA will be present on the next system or not.

This week though, the question of Kinect came up and the answers given may settle some nerves. Here is what Whitten said to the questions IGN levelled at him.

IGN: Since Kinect must be plugged in for the Xbox One to function, what happens if your Kinect breaks? Like if it falls off the top of your TV onto a hardwood floor or something? Will the console cease to function?

The console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in…

Whitten: Xbox One is designed to work with Kinect plugged in. It makes gaming better in many ways – from the ability to say “Xbox On” and get right to your personalized homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more. Kinect allows you to search for your content, instantly move between games and your personalized dash and more with just your voice. Kinect helps you pick up and play by automatically knowing which controller you have in your hands. No more need to interrupt your friends game or navigate through multiple UI screens to sign in and tell the system which controller you are holding. It will even bind the controller to the console if its currently unbound – no searching for special buttons! Of course – these are just a few of the system wide benefits of having Kinect. 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.

There have been many responses from Microsoft regarding the Kinect’s importance to console functionality but up until now none have been this definitive.

When also asked if the Kinect can be completely off or not Whitten had this to say:

“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.”

So, with that finally settled, what are your thoughts on Kinect 2.0? Does it change your views on the Xbox One as a whole and how it operates? Let us know in the comments below.

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