I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING
First reported by IGN, Microsoft announced that they would no longer require the Kinect to be plugged into the console for it to operate. Even if the peripheral wasn’t currently in use or was disabled in the settings, the Xbox One required a connection for the OS to unlock – until last Monday.
The official justification ran something like this: the Kinect is so kickass and so well integrated that you’ll want to have it constantly running anyways. Xbox’s OS itself can be handily navigated with your voice or gestures, and countless games will feature its novel integration. Furthermore, there’s so much rampant innovation that passive applications of the device will be continually enhancing the Xbox One experience while you simply play games. Plus it’s not that big of a deal because you have to own one (you’re welcome).
It’s difficult to parse out the more discouraging angle on this seemingly small bit of news.
Is it that Microsoft caved to the most irrelevant of all consumer sub-groups: the paranoid, self-delusional crowd? Microsoft specifically cited privacy concerns in its decision – at the very least it’s extremely shortsighted to give such vocal minorities of the internet any hint that they wield any iota of power.
Could it be the further erosion of third party support for the Kinect that will doubtlessly occur as a result? The list of known third party Kinect games is slim: currently there are three games based entirely around its use, and an additional two that will support its use. Based on the quality of its launch lineup, there’s ample reason to believe that third party teams are opting to skip the additional, costly development time entailed with Kinect support.
No, it’s actually the apparent lack of conviction in their digital philosophy. Whether they were forcing it on their consumers or not, at least Microsoft had a bold, definitive conception of their future console and how it would operate in the near-future living room. But every back step further chips away at this reality.
Would it be inconceivable to hear that an Xbox One SKU will launch for $400 without a Kinect? If that happened, is there any question as to which would be more popular?