Microsoft's executive vice president Marc Whitten has confirms Xbox One users won't need the new Kinect sensor plugged in to use the console.

Microsoft Xbox One Kinect Always On
Microsoft has reversed its decision on necessitating player to have their Kinect always connected. (Credit: Microsoft) Microsoft

When launching the Xbox One, Microsoft made much out of the extended capability of the second generation Kinect and said that more developers would not integrate the motion sensor into their games as it was necessary to have it plugged in at all times for the console to function.

Now however Microsoft has back-tracked on this feature of the console - just the latest U-turn the company has taken in relation to certain features of the Xbox One.

Speaking in a Q&A with readers of gaming website IGN, Marc Whitten responded to a question from one reader asking would the console cease to work if the Kinect breaks:

"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."


Another reader asked: "How 'off' can Kinect be when the system is in use?" Whitten responded by clearly confirming the need to have the second generation sensor "on" was no longer a prerequisite:

"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."

The original Kinect became the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history selling 8 million units in just 60 days. However few publishers integrated the motion sensor into their games as they didn't know whether or not gamers would own a Kinect.


So far the only Xbox One bundles revealed contain a Kinect sensor as standard meaning every Xbox One owner will have one, whether or not they use it. The inclusion of the Kinect as standard has been seen as one of the main reasons for the higher £429 price of the console, compared to the PlayStation 4 which will cost just £349.

This latest change of policy by Microsoft has led some to speculate that a cheaper bundle without a Kinect will go on sale soon after launch, which is scheduled for November.

Microsoft has been seen to make a number of misstepa since announcing the Xbox One and all-new Kinect back in May.

Initially Microsoft said players would need to "check-in" online once every 24 hours in order to continue playing as well as imposing strict DRM restrictions on used games - but following fan anger Microsoft reversed these policies in June.