Xbox One Kinect Use Clarified

By Rebecca Smith, 3 years ago
Last week we brought you the answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Xbox One. IGN has again interviewed Marc Whitten, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, to get the answers to more burning topics.

Kinect

As we clarified back in May, players did not have to use the Kinect sensor if they didn't want to do so. Now, Whitten has confirmed that the sensor doesn't even have to be plugged in and turned on -- the Xbox One will function perfectly well without Kinect.

Players can also turn the sensor off in the console settings; while this option is chosen, the sensor will not be collecting any player data, although it will still act as an infrared blaster during its 'off' periods. Regardless of whether the sensor is unplugged or is simply turned off, players will not be able to use the Xbox One functions or experiences that require Kinect. Anything that uses voice, video, and/or gesture will not work. When players try to perform an action that requires Kinect, the console will bring up a message asking players to turn the sensor back on.

We've been told many times that the console has been designed to work with the Kinect sensor. Whitten gave a quick rundown of some of the features that will be available through the use of the Kinect sensor, some of which will already be familiar:

It makes gaming better in many ways – from the ability to say “Xbox On” and get right to your personalized homescreen, to the ability to control your TV through voice, Smartglass and more. Kinect allows you to search for your content, instantly move between games and your personalized dash and more with just your voice. Kinect helps you pick up and play by automatically knowing which controller you have in your hands. No more need to interrupt your friends game or navigate through multiple UI screens to sign in and tell the system which controller you are holding. It will even bind the controller to the console if its currently unbound – no searching for special buttons! Of course – these are just a few of the system wide benefits of having Kinect. Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay.
Friends List

The Xbox One will increase your number of Xbox LIVE friends tenfold by supporting up to 1000 friends. At launch, the console will enable players to mark down favourites so that "it is fast and easy to play with the friends you care about most". Microsoft will be refining the friends list as time goes on and there may well be the option to categorise your friends in the future.

Regardless of whether your friends are on the Xbox 360 or on the Xbox One you will be able to see what they are up to. Players who accumulate more than 100 friends on the Xbox One will still have a friends list on the Xbox 360, although the only gamertags that they will be able to see are the subset of people that are friends with them on the Xbox 360. This statement alone also confirms that players will be able to switch between Xbox One and Xbox 360 at will if they intend on owning both consoles simultaneously.

Unfortunately, players will not be able to chat with their friends cross-platform due to technical reasons. Xbox 360 gamers can only communicate with 360 gamers, while Xbox One gamers can only communicate with players on an Xbox One. However, text messages can be sent and received cross-platform.

Xbox One Headset

While unboxing an Xbox One last week, Major Nelson confirmed that all consoles will be shipped with a mono audio chat headset. We even got a snazzy video showcasing the headset from many different angles. Those of you who are technically minded might be more interested in the headset's specifications. The new headset "streams 24 kHz at a 16-bit resolution uncompressed both downstream and upstream". By comparison, the standard Xbox 360 wired headset streamed 16kHz downstream and just 8 kHz upstream at a compressed 14-bit resolution. For those of you who understood what that meant, Whitten expects you to be "very happy with the audio in game chat and parties" with the new headset.

Using Xbox One Controllers on PCs

To round out this week's information, we're actually heading over to CVG and their interview with an un-named Microsoft spokesperson. The company is aware that players wish to use their Xbox One controllers with their PC games but, unfortunately, this functionality won't be available until some point in 2014. This is because the Xbox One controller and the Xbox 360 controller share no underlying technology at all, so new software needs to be written and optimized for PCs. Microsoft is also trying to make sure that some existing PC games will also support the Xbox One controller.

We'll be back next week to clarify more details about the Xbox One.

Thanks to the members of the community who sent this in!
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.