You won’t be able to access functionality of the same, but either the sensor or the entire device can be disabled.
It first started with Microsoft changing its DRM policy, wherein the Xbox One needed to be authenticated online every 24 hours and was region-locked (not to mention restrictions placed on sharing games). Then the policy of no self-publishing for indies on Xbox Live has been changed. And now it seems that the mandate for Kinect to always be on when using the console has been done away with as well.
Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten spoke to IGN and stated that the company is working to change the always-on requirement for the motion-sensing camera. “Like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.”
This means that it won’t be able to respond to voice commands or gestures or pretty much any function that the game has implemented. You can also turn off the sensor itself through the settings, though it will still have the use of infra-red.
Could this be paving the way for an Kinect-less edition of Xbox One in the coming months?