In a recent interview with Polygon, chief marketing officer for Xbox, Mike Nichols shared an insight into the reception of Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensor since its launch alongside the console in 2013. While the peripheral was originally marketed as a key component of the ecosystem, a majority of console SKUs available today lack the device. Due to this change in stance, the future of the accessory has been somewhat uncertain in recent months, seeing little attention from the Xbox team.
Next year, to complement a dashboard overhaul, Cortana will be seeing her arrival on the Xbox One, to further integrate the Xbox platform with Windows 10. Initially scheduled to release this fall, the digital personal assistant is set to improve on the existing voice navigation by accepting natural phrases, unlike the limited vocabulary of the Xbox One's current voice commands. Recently, it has been announced that Cortana will be making a delayed arrival, in early 2016.
In previous announcements, it has been emphasized that Cortana will use Kinect as a voice input, but according to Nichols, a majority of Xbox One headsets will also be supported. The following was stated in Polygon's article:
Nichols said that when Cortana comes to the Xbox One - the voice or text search AI is scheduled for a preview sometime this year - it will include Kinect support. You'll also be able to use it with a headset and microphone or by typing in your search, he said.
While this does mean that a larger percentage of the user base will have access to Cortana, it does once again, reduce the value of the Kinect sensor. Nichols defended the device, stating that out of the current Kinect users, a “vast majority” still utilize it’s offerings on a regular basis. No figures were shared in the interview, but it can be assumed that many of these users are invested in the voice navigation offered by the console, rather than its motion control elements.