Ever since Microsoft first announced that the Kinect would be a mandatory inclusion in launch bundles of the Xbox One, hiking up its price above that of the PS4 despite the console itself being less powerful than Sony’s system, we all knew it was a grave mistake. While the Kinect 2.0 was certainly more technologically impressive than its Xbox 360 predecessor, it still ultimately wasn’t very useful. Microsoft eventually realized that the peripheral was holding its latest console back, making it an optional add-on and allowing the sale of Xbox One consoles without it, which in turn led to a price drop for for the system and a swift turnaround in sales.
While we all realized a long time ago that the Kinect only served to hold the Xbox One back, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division Phil Spencer has now stated that he also believes that it doesn’t really add much to the core experience of the console, i.e. its video games.
Speaking in an interview with GamesRadar, Spencer said: “The teams continue to look at ways that Kinect makes the entertainment experience better. I’d say the area that hasn’t really landed – and I don’t know if it will – is, ‘Is Kinect integral to all of the core gaming scenarios on our console in terms of minute-to-minute gameplay?’ There are genres where Kinect works really well, but if you’re playing Halo or Call Of Duty, there’s not really a scenario that says, ‘Hey, I need a Kinect.'”
Of course, Spencer is unlikely to come out and say that the Kinect is a failure, but this is as close to an industry person saying “yeah, we messed up” as you’re likely to hear while their product is still on store shelves. Spencer also continued to claim how the Kinect was a “great part” of the “Xbox One ecosystem,” while also saying that “there is a lot of excitement, and there are still announcements to come about what people are doing with it,” but we know the truth and he knows the truth; the Kinect will never break the mass market like Microsoft wants it to.
Microsoft has been steadily distancing the Xbox One from the Kinect, but has always maintained that the device was important as it allowed users to get the whole Xbox One experience. Now it seems that they’re giving up on that angle, too.