The Xbox One is now a completely different console to what was unveiled earlier this year. Most highlighted features have changed because of the backlash received due to DRM. Today, it appears Microsoft are going back on yet another policy, this time regarding the Kinect sensor.
When the console was originally announced, Microsoft claimed that the Kinect Sensor would be required to use the Xbox One console. Now, Chief Xbox One Platform Architect Marc Whitten has said " 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."
For some, this may be fantastic news, as many won't actually use the Kinect sensor, but this will most definitely impact developers who wish to have Kinect integration but can't because nobody uses it. Microsoft are smart though, including a Kinect Sensor in the launch product means everyone who purchases an Xbox One first will have the Kinect Sensor, meaning developers can target the majority of gamers.
It wouldn't surprise us now to see Microsoft announce an Xbox One bundle without Kinect sometime in 2014. Recent rumors claimed Microsoft had these plans all along.