Well gamers, looks like Microsoft has realized their mistake and are listening to you. Just like they revoked the used game policy earlier, they have heard about your issues with Kinect and have revealed that their new console, the Xbox One, will not require the Kinect. Xbox Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten announced that all of the consoles vital features can be accessed without connecting Kinect. I think it goes without saying that you cannot use features like player identification and voice commands will be disabled if Kinect is not connected to the Xbox One. However, you can do everything else that does not require Kinect. Also, this means that if the Kinect is damaged, your console will not cease to function, so there is no need to worry about that.
We are not sure yet, but it looks like we might see a Kinect-less version of the Xbox One some time in the future. This version will be cheaper of course.
Furthermore, here is what MS PR, Albert Penello had to say.
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.
That said, for people who have privacy concerns there are user control settings, which we believe are great.
Although Microsoft is trying to satisfy the gamers by correcting their mistakes, I do think it’s a little too late. The PS4 is winning the pre-order race, and I highly doubt it’ll be stumbling any time soon. The damage is done; wounds heal and scars fade, but not this soon.