Reported by digitimes.com, Microsoft is preparing to introduce a new model of the Xbox One in the first quarter of 2014. This is according to a “Taiwan-based supply chain makers who say they have been asked to begin shipments of the new model in that quarter.“
What could this new version be? A Kinect-less SKU? A set-top box version? A cheaper version? At this time it is all speculation. With Q1 of 2014 just around the corner we will know soon enough. I have contacted a Microsoft Spokesperson and this was the official statement, “On Nov. 22, we launched Xbox One in 13 markets worldwide and our focus is on launching in more markets next year. Other than that, we have no further comment.” I will update you if I learn any additional information regarding the new version of Xbox One.
That being said if a Kinect-less version of the Xbox One were on its way it begs the question, how will it function without it? With Microsoft touting all of the capabilities of the Xbox One functionality surrounding the Kinect with TV and the abilities of recording with voice commands, what will be left? The site ecoustics.com asked the same question.
Here is the rundown of the Xbox One’s functionality without the Kinect:
- You Can Still Play Games and Use Apps (Minus Skype)
A lack of Kinect won’t effect the games you play as long as they are not Kinect games obviously. You won’t be able to launch the games by voice or use Kinect features, and Apps will function as well just without voice commands. However Skype will not.
- Watch TV, But Change Channels With Old Remote
The Watch TV feature is still functional, and you can use the OneGuide, and launch content in your app channels. However you can not change channels with the Xbox One. Since the infrared blaster is built into the Kinect which controls your TV and set-top box, you will still see the OneGuide, but you can not actually change channels with it. You will have to use your actual set-top box remote to manually change channels.
- Snap Apps With Controller Not User Friendly
The Snap function still works with TV, Game DVR or Internet Explorer on the side of your screen while you play games. You will manually need to select Snap on the Dashboard and then select the app you want snapped. That being said the snap functionality was not designed first for controller use, so it is unwieldily and tricky to use.
- Capture Gameplay A Burden
You can still use the Game DVR as a snapped app to record up to five minutes of gameplay. You do though have to have the app open and you must manually begin recording prior to play. As there is no voice command to “Xbox, record that” and save those last 30 seconds, the ability to capture something unexpected is lost. Additionally you can not play the game full screen while the Game DVR app is open as it needs to be snapped to the side of the screen, unlike when it is being used via voice command.
So even though the Kinect is still a buggy system slightly improved upon its predecessor, most of the interesting and new things the Xbox One can do are dependent upon the Kinect.
I myself like the idea of a Kinect-less system as I do not like the idea of a camera always watching and waiting all HAL style in my living room, even if it doesn’t, the possibility still exists. That being said, what are we left with that makes the Xbox One worth it? I myself find no use in the TV functionality as everything I watch is through the internet and is a feature I would never use. So for someone like me what use is there to justify that high cost of $499 as no game has truly proven the need for Kinect?
Obviously this is my opinion, as I am sure there are plenty of people who will find use for it who still watch TV in the old ways. I myself have been disappointed with the path that the Xbox has taken from the Xbox 360, starting with the introduction of the Kinect itself, the path of wonky casual games. I loved my Xbox 360, it is probably my favorite console of all time. All I wanted was a better console to play games on with the controller I loved, with no strings attached. I don’t want to be monitored for advertising or any other reason. Just because they say they will not monitor you, does not mean it will not or can not happen, it is a camera connected to the internet, which can be hacked, and we know that Skype itself was and is being monitored by the NSA. Just wait for those stories to roll out, it would be interesting to see how Microsoft would handle that. Enough of my preaching and rambles.
Either way though, the future of gaming is bright and I look forward to seeing what the next-gen of gaming can bring in the coming years when the hardware will really be put to the test.
What do you think the new version of the Xbox One will be? Excited by the next-gen of gaming? Disappointed by one console or another? Scared of HAL in the living room? Sound off in the comments.