Microsoft has changed several key Xbox One policies to better compete with Sony's PlayStation 4, but this much is still guaranteed: every Xbox One will come with a Kinect. They won't be sold seperately. That's the word from Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison. At Gamescom, he told CVG that as far as the company is concerned, Xbox One and Kinect are two parts of a single whole:

Xbox One is Kinect. They are not separate systems. An Xbox One has chips, it has memory, it has Blu-ray, it has Kinect, it has a controller. These are all part of the platform ecosystem.

Microsoft originally announced that not only would every Xbox One come with a Kinect, but also that it would be an integral part of the system that would need to be plugged in at all times. That last part is no longer true: Microsoft confirmed that the Kinect didn't need to be plugged in earlier this month. In doing so, the company raised both hopes and fears: hopes that Microsoft might be able to match the PlayStation 4's cheaper $399 price tag by not including a Kinect, and fears that Xbox One developers wouldn't be able to guarantee that any given gamer would have a new Kinect in their home. Now, the message is clear. Developers will be able to build their games with the assumption that Kinect will be available, and buyers will have to pay. Perhaps, if the resulting games are good, everyone will be a winner.