Microsoft’s Xbox One has been fraught with a series of public relations disasters, stirring up huge debate on the Internet over the industry giant’s handling of its console release. There was much disgruntled rhetoric, bandied across the Internet, over a number of core issues, including the device’s mandatory Internet connection, used games policy, PVR capture quality and subscription-locked features. Luckily, some of these issues have been addressed, as Microsoft has elected to perform a U-turn over many of its more controversial schemes. Now comes the turn of the Kinect, as a Microsoft update, in a bid to appease its fan-base and fit all the final pieces of the puzzle together, has revealed the company’s decision to enable use of the console without the Kinect’s attachment. The question is, will they complete the puzzle in time?
The Kinect motion sensor, which will still arrive as part of the standard Xbox One package, will no longer be a fixed requirement to operate the console in single-player or online multiplayer modes.
The ever-talking Marc Whitten kindly filled IGN in on the details:
“Like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in.”
Since the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal swept across the nation, Microsoft customers have, quite legitimately, become more distrustful over the handling of their private data. With the US government running amuck, with reckless abandon for the constitutional rights of their citizens, and snooping through the servers of major American technology corporations, this air of distrust was an inevitability.
There were fears that Microsoft’s Kinect device could be a prime tool for such underhanded spy tactics. After all, under the PRISM program, the government was given free license to access vast banks of the public’s private data, including email accounts and uploaded photos.
According to Forbes, the Xbox One’s Kinect technology can sensitivity interpret your movements and biometric data, such as the user’s heart rate. This being the case, one would presume that this information would also be at the disposal of the government snoop squad.
Luckily, perhaps in an attempt to reverse the public’s ever-worsening perception of the company, Microsoft has elected to modify its rules on the Kinect front. This update could be the final piece of the puzzle the company needs, which follows the slew of other policy back-pedals. Originally, the device could be powered down in the system’s settings; however, Microsoft argues that they wanted to provide video game and software developers the opportunity to have Kinect functionality on by default, for all of their customers to wield.
On the one hand, Microsoft should be commended for its response to customer criticism. To correct the horrendous number of contentious issues that were piling up on their plates, day in and day out, must have been quite some undertaking. Then again, the sheer scale of the modifications needed to assuage its customers is also quite telling; in its original form, the Xbox One was not good enough, and exposed Microsoft as being out of touch with the average consumer.
The next requirement, however, may revolve around Microsoft producing a Kinect-less version. With the existing price point fixed at a hefty $499, is Microsoft willing to ditch the Kinect camera, at least for specific bundles, thereby, serving up a more economical prospect to its loyal fans? It would seem like the logical next-step.
Finally, it seems Microsoft is coming to grips with the Xbox One. Marc Whitten has had a lot of work on his hands in helping to put the company’s turbulent last few months behind them. He seems to emerge into the limelight time and time again, releasing update after update. It’s quite plausible, however, that the Xbox One team was too slow in arranging the final piece of the puzzle. Maybe, the Sony Playstation 4 already has them licked.
By: James Fenner