Microsoft’s new video game console, the Xbox One, will not require users to keep the Kinect sensor plugged in for the system to work.
The news comes out of a Q&A session with the Xbox One’s chief product officer Marc Whitten on video game news site IGN. Whitten 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.
When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One in May, it said the Kinect, which includes cameras and microphones that are always on and listening for commands, needed to be plugged in and switched on in order for the console to work. However, users would still have the option to disable the Kinect in the console’s settings menu.
But Microsoft still said the Kinect sensor had to be plugged in for the console to work, even if it was disabled, fueling concerns that the device could be used to spy into people’s living rooms. It now appears Microsoft has changed its mind and will allow you to use the Xbox One if the Kinect is unplugged from the console.
This isn’t the first 180 Microsoft has made since announcing the Xbox One. Originally, Microsoft said the console required an Internet connection to work in order to check whether or not users were playing pirated games. Microsoft also said it would allow game publishers to essentially “lock” a purchased game to one Xbox, making it difficult to trade in or buy used games. After a huge user backlash, Microsoft reversed both policies.