'Xbox One is Kinect,' so don't expect one without the other

Plus Oculus Rift on Xbox One?

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It can be difficult to remember every controversial Xbox One policy that's been established and/or redacted since the console was announced, but Microsoft wants to reiterate this week that the console and the new Kinect are all but inseparable.

Technically, it turns out, the Xbox One Kinect does not have to be connected to the system for it to work - we learned that a couple weeks ago.

But Aug. 21, CVG posted a Gamescom interview with Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison in which the exec said that the Xbox One and new Kinect are "not separate systems."

"Xbox One is Kinect," he said. "They are not separate systems. An Xbox One has chips, it has memory, it has Blu-ray, it has Kinect, it has a controller. These are all part of the platform ecosystem."

A 'magical experience'

Microsoft flip-flopped on a number of Xbox One policies that had critics and fans all in a tizzy earlier this year. One of those was the requirement that Kinect be hooked up to the system for it to function.

When that news hit earlier this month, Microsoft PR boss Albert Penello clarified on gaming insider forum Neogaf that every Xbox One console will still ship with Kinect, and that Microsoft "isn't interested in splitting the development base."

Harrison expanded on that point this week, agreeing that all Xbox One developers should be able to implement Kinect functionality into their games knowing that every player will have one.

"What we have shown really well at Gamescom is the magic of games that use Kinect. We have shown the power of voice control," he said.

"I have an Xbox One at home, and being able to walk in and say 'Xbox on,' and for the system to recognize me, launch and load my profile, and put my choices of content on the font page is a very magical experience. It makes you think about your relationship with technology in a slightly different way. It's personal. It makes you think, I wish more devices would do this."

Oculus Rift on Xbox One

Interestingly, Harrison said he'd like to see virtual reality headset Oculus Rift on Xbox One eventually.

"There's high-speed USBs on the back of the console that allow for high-speed data transfer, and our platform is designed to be open and extendable," he teased. "But we have no particular plans at the moment."

So it seems anything is possible.

  • TechRadar went hands-on with both next-gen consoles - don't miss our Xbox One review and PS4 review!