Yesterday, the Internet sent up a great cry of joy as Microsoft did a complete 180 on its Xbox One policies. Specifically, the company dropped the console’s used and borrowed game rules and restrictions, as well as the need for the console to connect to the Internet once every 24 hours for any and all games to work—even if you wanted to play them offline.
But despite this hilarious and amusing reversal, it’s important to keep in mind that the Xbox One will still require Microsoft’s new, improved, and dumb-robot-face-looking Kinect. Xbox One’s chief product officer Marc Whitten spoke with IGN about the role the Kinect will still play in the console’s functionality:
“We still believe Kinect is a really critical part of the architecture. We think it changes the way you can interact with your experiences, being able to control the box with your voice or with gestures, being able to do Skype. And we want game and interactive entertainment creators to be able to know they can take advantage of it, and we want it to be completely consistent for our users. So we still are very committed to how Kinect transforms that experience.”
For those of you who were concerned about the Kinect’s integral usage in the console, that concern is still there. The thing will still be online all the time—you’re just not required to be online to play a game. Your Kinect will still be watching and listening.
Now, chances are that’s really okay. I have my doubts that there’s a big room full of monitors where pervy Microsoft employees watch people in their living rooms. In fact, I have a regular Kinect on my Xbox 360, which is connected to the Internet via broadband all the time…so I don’t know why the Xbox One’s Kinectivity should bother me or anyone.
But I suppose that the whole attitude toward Microsoft changed after the Xbox One’s DRM plans became known. The idea that there were registrations, restrictions, and identity confirmations required to simply play a game made it feel very much like Microsoft didn’t trust us—so, in turn, whatever trust we had in Microsoft as a company with gamers’ interests in mind suddenly vanished. So while the Kinect 2.0 is probably not all that different from the current version, it feels a bit different, doesn’t it?
Just my thoughts. But now that many of the most onerous aspects of the Xbox One’s strategy have been removed, does the console hold more appeal for you? Has the console war been evened up?