At E3 2016, Microsoft revealed the new Xbox One S that represents an incremental step forward for the company’s console line, at least while waiting for Project Scorpio to take flesh. If the One S is indeed “the future”, it might be a future with very few Kinects. That’s because, in the process of shrinking the new console, Microsoft removed a few unnecessary parts, which happens to include the dedicated Kinect connection port. Users will have to ask Microsoft for a free USB adapter if ever they want to use the motion sensor with their newer and smaller console.
Gamers have a love-hate relationship with the Kinect, and apparently so does Microsoft now. The company was criticized for overhyping the accessory, which fell short of expectations. However, the primarily console-exclusive sensor became so popular among modders, hackers, and developers that Microsoft eventually officially supported those cases for Windows PCs.
Things took a wrong turn with the Xbox One, however. Perhaps in an attempt to spread the Kinect even further, Microsoft initially bundled the console and the bar, which only served to annoy gamers who were practically forced to pay a higher price tag. This was largely seen as the reason for the Xbox One’s tanking sales in the first few months. Microsoft eventually relented and decoupled the two, but the damage was already done.
Now it seems Microsoft swung the other way completely, practically removing out of the box support for the Kinect. Although the console still technically supports it, users will have to use an adapter to make that happen. It will also take up one USB port, so you’ll have one less port to use while you have the Kinect connected, requiring you to make a decision or a sacrifice, depending on your preferred setup.
The Xbox Kinect Adapter will be offered for free but only under a very specific circumstance. You actually need to own an Xbox One, an Xbox Kinect, and an Xbox One S, as you will be required to present all three serial numbers to be eligible for that freebie. There is no price yet for a separately sold adapter, but it will nonetheless be a deterrent to use a Kinect with the Xbox One S.