According to an anonymous “Ask Me Anything” Reddit session, Microsoft has several pragmatic reasons for including a Kinect with each new console.
It would be an understatement to say that the Xbox One had an especially rocky reveal. Between its initial, controversial policies and eventual post-E3 backtrack, it’s been very hard to get a clear idea of what Microsoft was trying to accomplish. Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten attributed much of the problem to a lack of communication, but now an anonymous Xbox One developer has stepped forward to address the issues. The unnamed individual started an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, promising a behind-the-scenes scoop on whatever wasn’t restricted by a non-disclosure agreement. For example, the decision to make the Kinect a mandatory peripheral wasn’t solely about shoehorning in advertising; it’s actually an integral part of the system that costs just as much to produce as a standalone console.
“The majority of the masses care only about the console, except that the success of the Kinect carries much more weight to us,” the anonymous developer claimed. “The sensor costs almost as much as the console to make … The goal with having a Kinect ship with every Xbox is to guarantee to game developers if they implement Kinect features into their games, everyone who has an Xbox will be able to experience it.
“I often see people dismiss the Kinect instantly because they haven’t seen it work like I have,” the developer continues. “It is an integral part of the Xbox One experience … The number of features on the Xbox One that uses the Kinect is almost too many to count. I can’t imagine using the console without it.”
The conversation goes on to cover a variety of topics, including Microsoft’s DRM policy, game sharing, and more. Assuming the answers are genuine, they point to a developer who stands behind the Xbox One’s design choices, yet fully acknowledges that Microsoft did a “mess of a job” representing them. It also hints at a corporate culture more complex than the straightforward comments of former president Don Mattrick.
“My purpose here is not to reveal technical information but to show you that us devs are consumers too,” the writer continues. “Some of the policies we too only heard the day of the reveal or at E3. We too, ponder about their pros and cons. I can tell you we have heated discussions on our policies all the time internally. Engineering practices have taught us there are always trade offs. We lay out all the benefits of different policies and figure out what we have to give up in order to obtain those benefits.
“The positive comments we read make us happy. The negatives give us the impression that we are evil and the Xbox One might as well be the Troll box. I have confidence in our management that all their decisions are always well debated before they come to a plan of action.”