Microsoft is yet again reversing a policy that annoyed many gamers. Originally Microsoft required that the Kinect that ships with the console would have to stay plugged in to even do anything, but now Microsoft has revealed that this will no longer be the case. Talking to IGN, Xbox chief product officer Marc 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.
The change is likely in response to negative feedback from consumers who did not want to have the Kinect in-use at all. Plus after it was revealed that the NSA has requested Skype calls from Microsoft, the potential NSA use of the Kinect sensor had frustrated more people.
This also gives a little hope that Microsoft will release an Xbox One which doesn't ship with a Kinect, which would also reduce the cost and make it more competitive with the PS4.