Xbox 9000

Not only did Microsoft’s press conference fail to alleviate fears about the new Xbox One but followup interviews seem to confirm them.

(Almost) Always Online

Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison tells Wired an internet connection for won’t be required for “certain” single player games, which implies it will for some or even most games. Furthermore, he suggested it will require regular connection, if not a constant one.

Harrison divulged:

There is some technology about how often, or how frequently the device has to ‘ping’, but that has not been… we have not talked publicly about that yet, but it will be very user-friendly

I Spy with My Little Eye

The Xbox One will be controlled through voice and gesture based commands via the new Kinect, which is no longer a peripheral but a core component.

Improvements include a 60% increase in field of view, minimum object threshold 2.5x smaller, facial recognition, and an infrared night-vision camera the can detect heat signatures like a human heartbeat, which could be used as a lie detector.

Even when it’s “off” it’s still on, running at a low-power state that allows it to be activated by the words “Xbox on.”

Jeff Henshaw, the group program manager for Xbox Incubation tells CNET that the Kinect can’t be disconnected but it can be disabled.

Henshaw explains:

If you want privacy, we’ll give you modes that ensure your privacy. And we actually have a little bit about this on the Web already. We will have something similar for the Kinect with Xbox One. The system is designed to have Kinect be an integral part of the experience. It’s not the case where you’ll be able to remove the camera altogether. But you’ll be able to put the system in modes where you can be completely secure about the fact that the camera is off and can’t see you.

In fact, Microsoft has already released a step-by-step instructional video: