Microsoft (still) hasnt given up on Kinect

It might have fallen off the standard Xbox One bundle and into the realms of a separate purchase but Microsoft still isn’t giving up on Kinect just yet. In an interview in the new issue of Edge Magazine (opens in new tab), Xbox’s Phil Spencer is enthusiastic about the peripheral and adamant about its place with Xbox One, even if it has had a rocky start.

“It’s not abandoned. We just developed Upload Studio 2.0, which has green screening that you can do with Kinect,” he says when Edge suggests the peripheral has been shelved. “We’ll continue to build functionality to make it a valuable part of the ecosystem. That said, price point’s really important for the console – we saw that over the holidays in the UK and US, where we did well when we dropped the price, which was great. And I want to make sure consumers have choice on how much they value the functionality of Kinect when they buy a console.”

Spencer is keen to remind us that the Kinect is still available as part of an Xbox One bundle and is always on offer as a separate purchase to add the functionality at a later date. “If you want to go buy a Kinect console [bundle], then they’re still available. I think it’s a great part of the ecosystem. And if you want just a console, and either add Kinect later, or Kinect’s simply not something you’re interested in, we give you that choice as well.”

But are there any titles that really make the most of all the exciting features discussed pre-launch and can this stretch to all games utilising the device? Spencer is honest that there might not be a place for the technology in every game. “The teams continue to look at ways that Kinect makes the entertainment experience better. I’d say the area that hasn’t really landed – and I don’t know if it will – is, ‘Is Kinect integral to all of the core gaming scenarios on our console in terms of minute-to-minute gameplay?’ There are genres where Kinect works really well, but if you’re playing Halo or Call Of Duty, there’s not really a scenario that says, ‘Hey, I need a Kinect.’”

“There is lot of excitement, and there are still announcements to come about what people are doing with it. But [Kinect’s] place will be earned through the experiences that are out there and the developers that show interest. We will continue to build functionality through voice and using the RGB and depth cameras, and we’ll stay focused on that, but giving the consumers choice is pretty critical.” Spencer is clear about giving customers choice but that very concept means that developers will surely be less likely to implement features if players have to ‘opt in’ by purchasing an extra peripheral. Had Microsoft stuck to its Kinect included guns, we might just have more exclusive functionality.

You can read the full interview and lots more in the new issue of Edge Magazine out on Thursday the 9th of April. Also featured in the magazine is an exclusive look at Splatoon and an interview with Streetfighter’s Yoshinori Ono. Download the issue digitally here (opens in new tab) on Thursday or subscribe (opens in new tab) to future issues.

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.