On Friday, Microsoft's Xbox One Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten posted a long clarification on digital game sharing and Xbox Live Gold sharing on Xbox.com. He also spoke to the folks over at IGN earlier this month, partaking in a Q&A session that is being published in pieces. One of the questions concerned what a gamer would do if their Xbox One's Kinect broke, and Whitten's answer reverses Microsoft's previous statements about the device.
The question, specifically, asked whether the gaming console itself would continue to work if the Kinect broke, considering that Microsoft had stated earlier this year that the Kinect must be connected to the gaming console in order to use it. Whitten goes into a long explanation about what Kinect does - nothing we haven't heard before - but then goes on to say that Kinect isn't actually required to use Xbox One.
Instead, he says the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged into it, but will simply lack the features and such that require Kinect. If that seems contradictory to what you've previously heard, that's because it is. Beyond that, it isn't the only backtracking the company has done since revealing the console.
Addressing the public head scratching some have made over the change, Microsoft has issued a statement in response, saying: "The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable [with Kinect]. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible ... There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work."
When asked how "off" the Kinect can be, Whitten clarified that it can be completely turned off so that it is collecting no information and, conversely, so that nothing requiring it functions. IR blasting is supported in the mode, but that aside gamers can turn it back on in settings when needed, or can select have it turned on when prompted during games that require it.