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Microsoft kills Kinect support in Xbox One's backward-compatibility push

Mark Hachman | June 18, 2015
Well, we know which games Microsoft won't be bringing to the Xbox One as part of its new backward-compatibility with the Xbox 360: anything that needs Microsoft Kinect.

xbox 360 kinect

Well, we know which games Microsoft won't be bringing to the Xbox One as part of its new backward-compatibility with the Xbox 360: anything that needs Microsoft Kinect.

So no, you won't be playing any of the Dance Central games. Sorry, Kinectimals. Kinect Sports? Nope. Kinect Party, you can go home now. All told, Wikipedia lists over 60 Xbox 360 games that require the Kinect, and all of them won't be supported by the new update.

No, Microsoft doesn't have it in for its old depth sensor. Instead, the reason is more mundane. Microsoft essentially simulated an entire Xbox 360 in software to allow the One to become backward-compatible with its older console, with one exception: USB ports. That means the simulated console can't access external peripherals or storage, and it won't be able to connect to USB peripherals like the Kinect--even, apparently, if the One owner has a newer Kinect attached to his or her system.

"What we've done to make this happen--which we didn't think was initially possible--was we built a virtual 360 entirely in software--and we take the old 360 games and put them in the emulator and we put them in emulation," Bill Stillwell, from the Xbox Platform team, explained in a livestream Monday night.

Still, Microsoft has shown little love to its Kinect depth camera since the peripheral was launched as one of the flagship features of the Xbox 360, with the ability to recognize not only your movements, but you--loading all your games and preferences at your command.  A year ago, Microsoft unceremoniously dumped its next-generation Kinect camera from the Xbox One--and set the stage for consumers to wonder whether Microsoft had wandered astray.

Why this matters: Somewhat ironically, gamers may leave E3 actually pining for Kinect--because an upcoming update to the Xbox One will add Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant. Caught up in a firefight or a raid or a game-winning drive, gamers may not want to pause and search for a friend online. Instead, vocally ordering Cortana to do so may become a better choice. Will those gamers need Kinect, though, or will they be able to trigger Cortana over chat? Microsoft hasn't said.

Just like an Xbox 360...on the One

Users will have access to all the achievements, friends, and matchmaking capabilities that they normally would on their 360, Stilwell explained--in addition to all the Xbox One's features. You can order your Xbox One to take a screenshot and upload it to impress your friends--something your 360 can't do. Users can dust off their Xbox 360 games that have been saved to the cloud as well as any Achievements they earned while on the older console, Stilwell explained. 

 

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