The Xbox One almost had Kinect built in

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Microsoft has made the wise decision to unbundle the Xbox One from Kinect, offering consumers a cheaper console. It hasn’t gone on sale yet, but once it does, I expect the Xbox One to experience a considerable sales spike. If things had been a little different, the Kinect excision would have been impossible. It was nearly built right in to the console.

“We actually built models of that,” Carl Ledbetter, the system’s hardware designer revealed to Develop.

“We pushed ourselves, can we put it all in one? Is that going to work? And the technology just isn’t there yet. As soon as you have something much bigger than the Kinect sensor people don’t want to put it by the TV, it’s too big.”

Yes, the whole thing was designed to work together, but that doesn’t mean that Ledbetter is upset that Kinect he helped design is being relegated to optional accessory.

“It’s all designed together, it’s holistic. And in the version that consumers can buy that doesn’t include Kinect, it still all works,” he says. “And so I think I share the same opinion that everybody does that by having more choice for the consumer, and a new point of entry for them, it’s great.

“So somebody can now buy the console and who knows after a day, or a week or a month they can always go buy the Kinect sensor, add it and plug it right in.”

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Kinect as a whole has damaged the Xbox brand, and the decision to bundle it with the Xbox One was a mistake; it’s R&D that could have gone in to creating a better console.

It is, however, great to see Microsoft waking up an offering its consumers choice, and this decision should help lessen the sales gulf between the One and the PS4.

Last Updated: May 22, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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