With Xbox One's media remote, Microsoft is admitting Kinect isn't good enough
20th Feb 2014 | 16:53
Small device, big message
Microsoft has just announced its Xbox One media remote, set to be released in "early March" for the price of $24.99 (UK and AU prices to be confirmed).
Steady yourselves. While your blown minds process all that control you're going to have over Blu-Rays, let's take a moment ask one obvious question – what about Kinect?
Between the Xbox One's motion controller and the physical controller in our hands, why do we need a remote as well? "Control TV and entertainment at the touch of a button" says Microsoft - wasn't the whole point of Kinect to make less convenient devices like this obsolete?
And the fact that the remote still requires Kinect to control the TV/receiver power and volume only makes the message more convoluted.
Releasing this - and releasing this now, not including it bundled with its console from the start - makes me wonder if Microsoft realises Kinect isn't fulfilling its purpose. This doesn't sound like the "All in One" I was promised.
The obvious response is "people like options". But between Kinect, the controller and Smartglass we surely have enough already.
I guess the warning signs appeared early when Microsoft announced that Kinect didn't have to be running for the Xbox One to function.
While that may have appeased NSA-paranoid gamers, it was a hammer-blow to developer incentive. Why should they care about this now-secondary feature?
I don't want to hate on Kinect. Kinect could be brilliant. In fact, when it does work, it is brilliant. And I'm sure we'll see it put to better use this year.
But just like many predicted, the Xbox One's once-headline feature is quickly fading into insignificance because Microsoft is diluting the original message.
Perhaps now is the time for Microsoft to accept that Kinect is a peripheral - and give us the option to buy the Xbox One without it.