Microsoft to update Xbox One so it works better without Kinect sensor

Today's announcement by Microsoft that it would sell a version of the Xbox One without the Kinect sensor in June also means users can expect some new updates for the console that will help them navigate through its dashboard better with just the controller.

In a chat with Engadget today, Microsoft's Xbox marketing lead Yusuf Mehdi said:

We do want to find ways to give you some of those shortcuts and make some of the things that we have with Kinect easier with the controller. You can expect to see us do a bunch of things over the coming months to make the experience easier and easier, even if you don't have a Kinect.

Mehdi added that the first updates won't be released before E3 2014, which happens in early June, but should be released shortly afterwards, adding. "We're still kind of working through that." 

As far as the reasons behind offering a non-Kinect Xbox One SKU, Mehdi denied today that it was an attempt to boost sales of the console. He repeated Xbox head Phil Spencer's statement today that selling an Xbox One without the sensor was simply to give customers a choice, even if that choice is $100 less than the one with the Kinect device.

Mehdi also denied that the move was made to sell the Xbox One in more territories around the world, although he did admit that localizing the Kinect add-on to work in each country "takes a bunch of time." The Xbox One is only being sold in 13 markets so far, compared to over 50 for Sony's PS4. Microsoft plans to expand the Xbox One's reach to more countries this fall, including China.

Source: Engadget | Kinect Image via Shutterstock

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I could give you examples of my poor experiences with Apple customer service and Google's non existent customer service. But overall I think all of them are generally well regarded, including MS.

It's a shame they didn't build a microphone into the controller, that could have perhaps helped (and as the controller is generally closer to the user than the Kinect, a regular cheaper microphone rather than the super special Kinect one might have sufficed) but it's great to see them decouple the Kinect.

As cool as it is, it needs to be smaller, and built in to the console/controller somehow. Right now even if I wanted to I have no where to put a Kinect additional to a console.

I'm happy with the new price too. Once I see a decent Arkham Knight bundle later in the year I'll make a purchase. :)

Still, as well as this Kinectless Xbox One, MS really need to get some kind of AppleTV/Fire TV/Chromecast/Roku rival out there more or they'll end up losing the living room domination they achieved with the Xbox 360.

prettyconfusd said,
As cool as it is, it needs to be smaller, and built in to the console/controller somehow. Right now even if I wanted to I have no where to put a Kinect additional to a console.

My wife and I have about given up on placing our 360 Kinect anywhere usable. Our new TV is too thin to just double-side tape it to the top of the set. Even if it were possible, we hated the way the Kinect looked on top of our previous set (Johnny Five from Short-Circuit, anyone?)....nevermind the annoying green "on" LED (yay, another LED to tape up!). Meanwhile, the Kinect really won't work anywhere else except for high on top of the TV.

Wasn't interested in the XBox One....until now. Good thing MS is listening to potential customers and not over zealous fanboys. If it were up to these zealous MS fans, we'd never have a Kinect-less One or the return of the Start menu in Windows.

Its great MS is listening to their customers, but I kind of think they are pushing themselves into a corner on how they make decisions which can be seen in the changes for Windows 8 and Xbox

How about they just leave the Kinect in the box and still sell it for $399...

I know they have their investors. But it's us the consumer who buys the products....

If they did that, they'd 1) be manufacturing and selling unwanted parts for free and 2) still have people complaining that they're being forced to pay for Kinect, even though it's included for free.

Showan said,
But now, all we have is basically a Xbox 360.5 (or Xbox540 if you want to go this route)

No you have an Xbox One that is same Xbox One as before, only with a cheaper bundle that doesn't include an accessory that was optional to begin with.

Not the way I view it.
You took away what made it different.
I may not be that big on Nintendo, but I love that they are different.

Kinect made it different outside of gaming.

I use voice commands for a lot of things on the X1. Why should enhancing Kinect voice and gestures, etc, be bothered with now that the install base just went from 100% to probably 10% now?


Nothing was taken away, or did MS come repossess your Kinect yesterday?

If your statistics are true, then 10:1 gamers aren't interested in Kinect, so developers wouldn't have incentive to use it even if they knew everyone had one. That would explain was Kinect support was weak even when it was bundled with every system.

I was talking about from a pure Microsoft perspective. No one will develop software until the company that created the product supports it.

I cared about Kinect outside of gaming just as much as I did in gaming.

Wow, I knew that it was coming but didn't expect it so soon. This is good, IMO. Haven't picked up a PS4 like I had originally planned, and might consider getting an XBox One now.

I have the Kinect for 360 and it was not compelling enough to want on a new console. I also don't buy the argument that if the Kinect is ubiquitous, more developers will take advantage of it. Most 3rd party developers are focused on making their games work great on PS4 as well as the One. I don't think Kinect gimmicks are high on their priority list. It certainly wouldn't help them sell games, IMO.

This is all a bit sad really.

Next Nintendo announce new version of Wii U without a GamePad (one of it's best features imao)

Maybe we should just have a box for gaming and no innovation at all and you can just add & pay for peripherals later - wait has this not been done before - PC?
and you can charge us extra for the OS (windows) too... argghhhh....

Simon Fowkes said,

Maybe we should just have a box for gaming and no innovation at all and you can just add & pay for peripherals later - wait has this not been done before - PC?
and you can charge us extra for the OS (windows) too... argghhhh....

Maybe we should just start making great games again and quit wasting time and money on stupid gimmicks that everyone gets tired of fast. No one wants to jump around their living room like a monkey or wave at their TV like their communicating in sign language. Normal game controllers are the best way to interact with our games being that we have these really great things called fingers and hands. The best games out on the XBox One don't need or even support use of the Kinect.

Bonfire said,
The best games out on the XBox One don't need or even support use of the Kinect.

So Forza isn't one of the best Xbox One games?
Good to know.

I hope they allow kinect voice commands through a headset, i have no room for my kinect in my room but miss the option for "xbox record that"

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
And more to come!

Part of me says 'great' because they are listening to customers but I also feel that a company like MS should be more in tune with their customers from the beginning and be giving them what they want and need from the outset. I suppose its only people like us who follow tech blogs who get to see the U-Turns but I have to ask what is going on at Microsoft? Why can't they get this right? Why so many UTurns? Do they have a coherent vision that they are executing? Is their finger on the pulse? Do they know where they are heading? It looks like they don't. Windows 8 and Xbox One look like mistakes.

Microsoft from the start should have just went for the Sony jugular and undercut then by $50 dollars while still including the Kinect. With Sony being in poor financial shape and Nintendo struggling with their latest console Microsoft could have taken control of the console market.

I personally think it is a good move. Those who wanted to buy an Xbox would already have done so and will continue to do so, mostly because of the Kinect sensor, but are waiting for the prices to fall down. So MS isn't loosing any potential customer by this move. However it wins big with those who just want to buy a gaming console at a certain $399'ish price point. Having the XboxOne at the same price point as the PS4 gives it a 50/50 or at least a 35/65 chance of being chosen. That is better then 1/100. Lame for game makers maybe, but those who want to build Kinect capabilities in their game, will at least write some cool stuff to differentiate themselves from the others. Kudos MS for having the balls to see this through.

How about Microsoft update Xbox One to work better with the Kinect. Xbox On has never worked for me and sometimes the xbox will start listening for no reason.

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