Dumping Kinect will give us better Xbox One games, but is it too little too late?

Glorified paperweight or exciting new games console?

Microsoft's move to dump the compulsory Kinect element from the Xbox One spec sheet has had a few effects on the software giant's gaming business.

As well as allowing it to sell the webcam-free version of the console for a more competitive price, the move also apparently frees up some of the visual processing power that Kinect used while sitting there listening to us speak and waiting for a command or a skeleton to track.

According to Microsoft, removing Kinect from the Xbox One's memory requirements means there's something like an "up to 10 per cent additional GPU performance" boost available to developers to implement in future titles, giving internet Xbox fans a free ammo pack to use in the endless online war with rival PS4 enthusiasts.

What it doesn't mean is that your Xbox One will suddenly be "better" in any way, or will become instantly stronger should you unplug Kinect. Developers have to write their code to use the extra power first, so it'll be months or even years until there's any noticeable effect. Not that a small fact like that could stop the internet going MAD about it.

Boning up

Over on Polygon, the change saw a rather confused and somewhat mixed response. The enthusiastic SolvingJunk was well up for the minor enhancements it may or may not bring, posting: "I may actually get an Xbone now, at least when something I'm interested in comes out on it. Get some better resolutions and frame rates while getting the camera/mic out of the living room. Win-win!"

To which Schnydz replied with the completely opposing: "I was just thinking the exact opposite. More on the fence now than ever. With what seems like so many changes going on I feel like maybe I should wait till next year. Who knows, maybe an Xbox One rev 2 with higher processing power will be announced in 2015?"

And maybe you'll be able to switch the controller off to free up some more extra memory and have games play themselves but at a higher resolution?

Graf1k doesn't think even Microsoft would baffle people with a new console so soon, pointing out: "That'll never happen. Imagine the confusion. 'Requires Xbox One mk. 2 or higher'. Normal people got confused over the Wii/WiiU ffs."

Stupid normal people, always demanding everything be clear and obvious.

Just get over it

On GamesIndustry, they're already making plans to attend Kinect's funeral. Steve Wetz posted: "Microsoft may feel very strongly about the Kinect, but this is essentially the death knell. Kinect has no killer app - the only reason people bought it originally was because it's new. Then they bought it because they had to. Now they don't have to." So they don't.

Eric Leisy agrees and has already moved on, replying with: "...my experience with it has been less than impressive. There isn't much about it that doesn't really seem 'not gimmicky' or novel. It was kind of fun/useful to yell at the box to turn on and off for a little while, but it doesn't work enough times you just get over using it."

VG247 reader Viralshag was an Xbox One early adopter, fan and t-shirt wearer from launch, and even he's struggling to be nice about Microsoft's Kinect machinations, moaning: "I bought it because I had faith that MS could deliver a straight up games machine akin to that of the 360. What they have so far delivered is a bulky, poor performing, U-turning, lacklustre machine. I'm pretty sure they talked about how integral the Kinect was for the future of Xbox at launch... so much so they're now prepared to drop it from the console packs."

2039 news review: 10,000,000 Kinects Unearthed in Desert

Gamasutra readers are also convinced Kinect's as good as buried, and there's not much in the way of tears flowing there, either. Commenter Ron Dippold suggested: "If the unbundling didn't kill the Kinect, then 'You can have Kinect support or you can have 10% more power' is another body shot and possibly a worse one."

He did find one small backhanded good thing about the move, though, continuing with: "On the plus side this discourages cramming in superficial, almost never beneficial, voice control for cross platform games. On the negative side, nobody will be using Kinect unless the game really needs it."

Ujn Hunter thinks the best thing for MS to do might be to surrender and retreat back to its core PowerPoint and Excel businesses, posting this miniature one-point Xbox rescue plan: "MS seems like it is trying to play catch-up, but removing the one thing that made their machine unique [is] effectively making it a weaker version of the PS4, with crummier exclusives than the Wii U. They should have just left the Kinect in place and dropped the price of their machine to match the Wii U. They may as well just give up."

And it could signal the end of all motion controls according to GameInformer reader Nitroto, who hopes that: "Maybe the phase of wacky, arbitrary input devices in games is coming to an end. Let's hope so."

To which we say in our finest American accent: Xbox record agreement with that.