In a recent article on IGN, Xbox Corportate VP Marc Whitten revealed that no longer is the Kinect required to be plugged into the Xbox One for console to function. Although this may seem like a good idea to consumers in a time when privacy issues have become increasingly important, removing the requirement of the Kinect sensor is a bad idea for consumers and developers.
If the Kinect is not required developers can’t rely on it to be present, especially if Microsoft decides to release a version of the console bundled without a Kinect. Next month the Xbox 360 will be facing a similar problem. On September 17th Rockstar will release GTA V, and what many unsuspecting gamers don’t know is that the game requires an install of around 8 gb, this is to prevent the consumer from having to switch disks in the middle of play. However, when the Xbox 360 first launched it released in two versions, the Pro and the Core. The Pro came with a 20 gb hard drive and the Core came with no storage. Because so many people bought the Xbox 360 Core they used a proprietary memory card to save games, the largest size having 512 mb. Later Microsoft released a remodeled version of the Xbox 360 that came with 4 gb of storage. With a vast difference on storage size, many players are going to find that they cannot play GTA V when it launches due to not having enough storage capabilities. Although there are simple solutions like using a usb flash drive, in the end there are going to be upset consumers, which in turn is going to upset retailers. The problem that developers now face with the Kinect is that if Microsoft does not require it, and/or if they sell a version of the Xbox One without it, developers may not want to develop for it because only a fraction of Xbox Ones would have it, similarly to how the original Kinect is on the 360. Also having multiple versions of a console can be very confusing to consumers.
Microsoft had a vision of a console that was always connected to the internet, one that developers could rely on to create vast and immersive worlds, but there was public outcry over it, and they removed the feature. Microsoft is now at a crossroads with Kinect and the direction of the Xbox One. Either they are committed to it, or they’re not. If they’re committed to the Kinect there are going to be a lot of innovative things that developers do with it, but if they’re not committed to it consumers won’t be either. Choice is good, but in this case Microsoft needs to be committed to their system and stand by their ideas.