Microsoft may have fumbled the Xbox One launch but the company has done a good job of responding to user feedback ever since. The latest change comes to us courtesy of Xbox One chief platform architect Marc Whitten, who tells IGN that the Xbox One “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.” Whitten also said that users can “completely turn the sensor off” so that it’s not collecting any information while you’re playing games.
Microsoft had originally planned to require users to have Kinect at least plugged into the Xbox One to use it. But this raised some concerns over user privacy, especially because Microsoft boasted that Kinect can “look at microfluctuations in the blood underneath your skin” and can “zoom into your face to show if you’re neutral or smiling.”
It also didn’t help that Microsoft revealed its original Kinect requirements just before stories about the National Security Agency’s extensive surveillance operations started to blow up, so it’s probably wise from an optics perspective that Microsoft decided to backtrack on this particular policy.