Microsoft tells Stuff why the Kinect isn't an evil telescreen

Why you should rip off those tinfoil hats and enjoy Microsoft's next-gen super-cam

Microsoft's Xbox One presentation at E3 was greeted by an angry mob of gamers wielding pitchforks and torches – raging at the console's mandatory Kinect and internet connectivity.

Since then, however, Microsoft has listened to the gaming masses and reversed its decision for online-authenticated DRM. It's also very recently removed the requirement for Kinect to be plugged in at all times.

So how will the Kinect work with the Xbox One?

Stuff spoke to Leo del Castillo, Xbox's General Manager of Console Development, who went into more detail on how exactly Kinect will function with the Xbox One.

First things first – the Xbox One will function as normal if Kinect isn’t plugged in, though it's "still designed to work best" with it connected. Castillo stated that the Xbox team knows that "there may be times you don’t want Kinect to respond to you", so they've provided gamers with several control options.

The first of these is standby mode. Simply saying “Kinect Off” puts the Kinect to sleep, where it will only respond to two simple words – “Kinect On”, and nothing else.

You can also choose to fully turn Kinect off within your system settings. Once you do this, Kinect will not respond to voice commands at all, and you’ll need to turn Kinect back on manually in the system settings to use it again.

And then of course there's the recently revealed option which is disconnecting the Kinect altogether. If you try to play a Kinect game with it disconnected, you'll be prompted to plug in or adjust your Kinect settings accordingly.

Ultimately, Castillo believes that "the new Kinect will let you experience entirely new magic moments making your gaming and entertainment better". It's clear that the Xbox team wants gamers to use the Kinect to unlock the full potential of the Xbox One. But at least you now have plenty of options if you're not too keen.

 

More after the break...

Win-Win

So there you have it. The NSA, CIA, MI6 and little green men will find it quite difficult to spy on your riveting living room debates about your kill:death ratio, at least through Kinect anyway.

Debunking the conspiracy – Microsoft tells us why the Kinect isn't evil

Ultimately, these changes should keep most developers and gamers happy. Uncomfortable gamers can choose to leave it unplugged entirely if they wish, but developers still have plenty of motivation to make use of all Kinect has to offer, as each and every Xbox One console will still come bundled with one.

This is a very good thing too, because the Kinect sensor is packed to the rafters with impressive tech and has great potential for gaming innovation.

It's got a 1080p wide-angle camera for starters, with an IR sensor that gives it impressive night vision for dimly-lit gaming sessions. Its wider field of view also means that you can stand much closer than the previous generation Kinect, which had problems in tiny living rooms.

Not only can it detect up to six people at once, but it can track individual Xbox One controllers from person to person, meaning it automatically shuffles split-screen windows if you change where you're sitting.

Couple that with heart-rate detection, facial and voice recognition, the ability to track 25 individual joints (including thumbs) and the speed and weight of your movements, and you've got a powerful piece of kit with potential we can't wait to see be unleashed.

Help pass the time till the Xbox One and Kinect's November release by checking out Xbox One vs PS4 guide for all you need to know about the next generation of gaming.

There's also an Xbox One vs PS4 controller comparison to gauge which controller's right for your eager hands and an in-depth look into the future of 4K on both next-gen consoles.

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