A Dis-Kinected World

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A new bundle of the Xbox One without a Kinect has lead to confusion, complaints, and conjecture. Let’s take a look at the facts, rumors, and realities.

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Trying to make back friends and customers they have lost is nothing new to Microsoft in the last year or so. The unbundling of the Kinect from the Xbox One is just the latest reported casualty. First off, let’s look at what are facts about the announcement regarding the Kinect:

  • You will be able to buy an Xbox One without a Kinect on June 9th for $399
  • You can pre-order the Kinect-less Xbox One now
  • You will be able to buy a Kinect as a standalone product this fall

Those are really the only solid facts that you can take away from this. The fall release of the standalone Kinect isn’t so solid until it gets a firm release date.

Where things getting truly interesting but ultimately the most clouded is what this means not only for the future of Kinect but of the Xbox One itself. First, look at the Kinect as a standalone product. The Kinect’s future will hinge upon the demand it creates. If there are games that work well and have appeal to buyers, then it is safe. However, lack of good games was a burden too large to bear for the original Kinect and it never took hold. Developer Harmonix is already worried about losing business, as they should be.

Another factor to Kinect’s viability will be it’s price. The original was introduced at $150 and fell to $100. Since dropping the Kinect took $100 off the bundle price, logic and reason says that $100 is the selling price. Consider that the PlayStation camera is only $60 and the question of price isn’t exactly answered.

Now consider the ramifications for the console. The Kinect accounted for about 10% of the consoles compute power, 8% for video and 2% for audio processing. Microsoft had previously been willing to relent the video processing power back to developers. The hopes are that the 8-10% will help games achieve the 1080p/60fps performance that gamers love looking at and PR departments love pitching. However, there is no guarantee that removing the Kinect will do this. Other process are still happening in the background (like party management, achievement tracking, snapped apps, etc.) taking processing power away from games.

Even with the extra resources, developers will have to account for them and most likely have to patch almost every game. Voice commands may become a thing of the past because of the loss of resources. Giving away the resources to handle them makes having a Kinect or not a moot point. Unplug your Kinect now and you can’t use your voice commands, but none of those resources are available for other tasks.

The muddy past of the Xbox One is frustrating at best and makes the murky future even harder to predict. We can only wait and see how developers react to a fragmented installation base of users, those with and without Kinect.

What do you think about this news? Will the lower price alone get you to buy? Will more resources help game quality? Do these and other changes at Microsoft make you feel better or worse? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Author Line

dudewantshisrugPaul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

9 comments

      1. I think Sony did the same thing with the Move. I didn’t even realize they had stopped supporting it until I went to Gamestop and got an egg of knowledge dropped on me by the sales associate.

        It seems like hit and miss with these technological innovations sometimes.

      2. The Move is still supported it is just more so that nobody develops anything that uses it. Look for Project Morpheus to possibly light some interest in it.

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