Microsoft Says It Won't Sell Xbox One Without Kinect

Microsoft Says They Won't Sell Xbox One Without Kinect

It's time to rule out those hopes of a cheap, Kinect-free Xbox One bundle, at least for now: Microsoft says it's not happening.

Following news that you don't actually need the Kinect plugged in for your next-gen Xbox to work, many gamers started wondering if maybe Microsoft would strip out the Kinect and sell a cheaper version of the $599 console, to better compete with Sony's $549 PlayStation 4. CVG asked Xbox exec Phil Harrison about the possibility. He said no.

CVG: A quick word on Kinect - I presume there will never be an Xbox One sold without it. You are doing this for developer-related reasons as much as your own. You want all developers to know that they can always implement Kinect technology because it always comes with every system. Would that be correct?

Harrison: Correct. Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems. 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.

What we have shown really well at Gamescom is the magic of games that use Kinect. We have shown the power of voice control. 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 recognise 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.

Of course, no news post about the Xbox One should come without the caveat that Microsoft has a tendency to say things and then change their minds about those things. But this is the story right now: no Kinect-free Xbox One.


    Microsoft has been saying this from the get go, but it seems journalists have to keep asking the same question about Kinect each time, in a vein hope that someone says something different. Hence the, for now part in the story above.

    It is high time journalists stop focusing on an Xbox one without a Kinect and focused on what it will be doing for the games in the Launch line up.

      Vain*, and I don't really get why it's vain...?
      They might be asking now because the knowledge that kinect can be disconnected means it is clearly nonessential to the console. Hence it would theoretically be more viable to those who don't care for kinect, if they would leave it out altogether and make it cheaper.

        The whole point of bundling it (and making it required to run in the first place) was to ensure it was there for devs to use on EVERY console, not just some people who decided to buy it. Selling a cut price non-Kinect version would destroy that. Its a forward looking move which everyone seems to bitch about but at the end of the day Xbox One with Kinect is cheaper than a PS4 with PS4 Eye here in Aus ($600 vs $550 + $88) and the controllers including play and charge kit is the same price. So at most you are saving $50 if you get a PS4 without the Eye but even if the Xbox price was less without the Kinect it would be a compromise too much for the system I believe.

          but even if the Xbox price was less without the Kinect

          And that's a huge if. I'd bet pretty heavily the Microsoft are eating the cost of including a Kinect with every console.
          Like you say though, they're not going to get rid of it because at this point they can't. It'd be the equivalent of swapping the XBOX One controller out for a SNES pad. Developers would go berserk because they'd be looking at a last minute re-write of entire systems.

      Whatever it does for games in the line up is exactly why I have no interest in an XBone. All the other stuff didn't bother me but I hate motion gaming with a burning passion. Spending money to make sure every Xbone comes with a Kinect means MS are going to be more forceful with the inclusion of it in games. So I'm out.

      Microsoft said a lot of things from the get go. They've reneged on most of them, so the fate of Kinect 2.0 is hardly set in stone.

      Journalists are probably still asking because Microsoft keep changing their plans for the Xbone. Adding to that, there's never been a massively compelling case for Kinect in gaming as a core feature, so removing it to bring it into pricing parity with the PS4 is a reasonable query to make.

    Going on the history of the xbone they'll probably change their mind but I hope they stick to their guns on this. It's one of the few major differences with the ps4

      I'd go one step further and suggest by ensuring everyone has one we may finally see some seriously innovative use of Kinect.

        Yeah it will be something that all developers will use and know that all Xbox one owners will have kinect :)

        I feel like collating all these responses and remind everyone of them a year from now when the only thing anyone's using Kinect for is dance games again.
        I jest.
        Or do I..?

          Yeah let's not try anything new.... It's just not worth it is it.

          Last edited 23/08/13 12:28 pm

          Entirely likely. However Microsoft is at least taking the first step to ubiquity within it's market. Now we need innovation.

          I hope the indie market is going to be as solid as Microsoft is advertising - and if so then maybe we'll finally see truly unique gaming experiences using Kinect.

    As much as I'm a PS4 fan...I can see Microsoft doing this (selling a Kinect-Free Xbone) down the line once they have made sufficent sales....I can also see Sony doing the opposite (bundling the PSEye with the PS4) once they have made sufficent sales

    I say good on them.

    Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making Kinect2 good and without bundling it with every console, we'll have the exact same problem as the old Kinect or even the Wii U (ie: not enough people will have one, so why bother wasting development time/money on it?).

    I am by no means a fan of stuff like waving my arms around to control a game, but I am interested to see what serious developers making serious games come up with for it.

    maybe you should be asking them if they'll ever bring out a Kinect game worth playing

      The point of bundling it is that it wont be limited to gimmicky Nintendo-like Kinect games now. Add the ability to lean in your chair to peek out around corners in a stealth or FPS game, maybe issue hand gestures in a multiplayer tactical game where your voice chat is now able to be heard by enemies as if your characters were talking in game, raise a hand to cover your eyes from a flashbang or any number of other things... Devs will have the chance to come up with and try new things knowing that the idea they come up with will be available to everyone.

        I agree, but I still think it will take an amazing game to restore confidence in what many consider to be something of a gimmick. Until then, it feels like we're paying for something we may not even end up using.

        Except that it still will be viewed as a gimmick by most - barring exclusive titles, developers would have to code the same game twice for those little Kinect features on one platform.

        I guess we'll see down the track how many see that as a worthwhile use of time and resources.

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