During an AMA with IGN the Xbox One's Chief Architect Marc Whitten provided a surprising answer, perhaps marking another Microsoft turn-around on a controversial issue. When asked whether the Xbox One could run without the Kinect plugged in, Whitten responded in the affirmative. He noted of course that several important Xbox One functions wouldn't work, but that's of no consequence. Everyone, the Kinect isn't required.
The following is the full question and full answer provided from the AMA:
"Since Kinect must be plugged in for the Xbox One to function, what happens if your Kinect breaks? Like if it falls off the top of your TV onto a hardwood floor or something? Will the console cease to function?"
"Xbox One is designed to work with Kinect plugged in. It makes gaming better in many ways – from the ability to say “Xbox On” and get right to your personalized homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more. Kinect allows you to search for your content, instantly move between games and your personalized dash and more with just your voice. Kinect helps you pick up and play by automatically knowing which controller you have in your hands. No more need to interrupt your friends game or navigate through multiple UI screens to sign in and tell the system which controller you are holding. It will even bind the controller to the console if its currently unbound – no searching for special buttons! Of course – these are just a few of the system wide benefits of having Kinect. Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. That 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."
Stage one complete, sirs. Stage two commences. How do we persuade Microsoft to not include the Kinect in the base bundle, thereby dropping the price to PlayStation 4 competitive levels or lower? This is your mission if you choose to accept it.
The Xbox One is planned for release this November, now without the Kinect required to be plugged in.