Xbox One can function without Kinect plugged in. Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten revealed yet another major policy reversal for Microsoft's next-gen console in a Q&A session with IGN.
"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," Whitten said. "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."
Microsoft previously stipulated that Kinect was an intrinsic part of the Xbox One experience--and that the system simply could not function without it. We've reached out to Microsoft to confirm that the console can now turn on and operate normally without the sensor, instead of just unplugging it midway through, and will update with any response.
Whitten did make it clear that Kinect's sensor can be completely disabled in Xbox One's settings. Games which make use of any voice or motion features will prompt users to re-enable them when necessary, and only IR blasting for set-top box input control will remain functional.
The Xbox One that will hit store shelves this November is looking pretty different from the one we first met in May.