When Microsoft announced that gamers would be able to disable the Kinect device on the upcoming Xbox One console, fans were elated, hoping that eventually they could purchase an Xbox One without the motion sensor at all. On Wednesday, however, a Microsoft official stated that the Xbox One will never be sold without a Kinect.
“Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems,” Microsoft vice president Phil Harrison told CVG in an interview. “An Xbox One has chips, it has memory, it has Blu-ray, it has Kinect, it has a controller. These are all part of the platform ecosystem.”
Initially, Microsoft announced that the motion and voice-activated Kinect would remain on and listening for audio cues as long as the Xbox One was plugged in, leading to a huge backlash from gamers worried about privacy. In May, the company announced that users would, in fact be able to disable the Kinect if they were concerned about being unintentionally recorded.
However, many hardcore gamers say that they would prefer an Xbox One without a Kinect at all, especially considering that Sony’s Playstation 4 will retail for $399 while the Xbox One will cost consumers $499. The Kinect is widely believed to be the main factor behind the increased price. Despite this, Harrison believes that gamers will come to love the Kinect.
“What we have shown really well at Gamescom is the magic of games that use Kinect. We have shown the power of voice control,” Harrison said. “I'm probably going to piss off your readers unintentionally when I say this: I have an Xbox One at home, and being able to walk in and say ‘Xbox on,’ and for the system to recognize me, launch and load my profile, and put my choices of content on the font page is a very magical experience. It makes you think about your relationship with technology in a slightly different way. It's personal. It makes you think, I wish more devices would do this.”
In the same interview, Harrison confirmed that the Xbox One would hit shelves sometime in November, but was unable to provide an exact date.