Xbox Series X can play all Xbox One games, unless they use Kinect

Microsoft is confirming today that its Xbox Series X console won’t support the existing Kinect accessory or the Xbox One games that are built specifically for Kinect. In a blog post laying out Microsoft’s commitments for its upcoming Xbox Series X console, Xbox chief Phil Spencer reveals Kinect games won’t be supported.

“It’s our intent for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console,” says Spencer. “And because of the unprecedented power of Xbox Series X, most of your favorite games will load faster and look and perform many times better on the new console.”

Microsoft has previously been clear about supporting existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on the Xbox Series X. The lack of Kinect support is new, though. “There’s no way for Kinect to work,” confirms Spencer in an interview with The Verge. The rear of the Xbox Series X, just like the Xbox One X, does not include a dedicated Kinect port, and Microsoft won’t be supporting the USB Kinect Adapter it discontinued back in 2018 after killing off the Kinect in 2017.

Kinect for Xbox One.

While Spencer doesn’t explicitly commit to every Xbox One game working on the Xbox Series X, it’s clear that the vast majority will, and the “intent” wording is there just in case there’s a rare exception. “Our backward compatibility engineers have spent years devising innovative ways for modern, next-gen technology to make the games library you’re building today even better, at no additional cost and with no work from developers,” says Spencer.

The rest of Spencer’s blog post really feels like Microsoft highlighting its different approach to next-gen consoles, with some subtle digs at rivals like Sony. “The Xbox Elite Controller and Xbox Adaptive Controller all work on Xbox Series X, so you don’t have to purchase new controllers,” Spencer wrote in a blog post sent to press ahead of the announcement. “Unlike others, we believe that your investments in gaming should move with you into the next generation.” Upon publication on Microsoft’s site, “unlike others” was removed from the post.

Spencer also says Microsoft won’t “force” people to upgrade consoles to get Xbox exclusive games. “Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years — like Halo Infinite — will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One,” says Spencer. “We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.”

Microsoft is now planning to hold an Xbox games event on July 23rd. Next week’s event will be a showcase for the Halo Infinite campaign other games coming to the Xbox Series X.

Update, July 16th 11AM ET: Noted the change to Microsoft’s blog post.


Nuclear take: the Kinect and all of the launch XB1’s all-in-one features were good ideas that should have come after Microsoft catered to their core audience like they did with the 360.

Microsoft had so many ideas that were ahead of their time (live TV organized like Apple and
Amazon are trying to do now, Xbox Fitness was Peloton and Mirror before either existed), it was just that they alienated their core users by not catering to them first.

I put the onus on the users for not being forward thinking. Why put it on the company trying to be innovative. When Apple does similar moves they are lauded.

Apple didn’t have a competitor with more cultural cachet that people could flee to in protest, unlike Xbox.

Again, that’s on the people who protested. MS got to where all these other media companies including apple are now chasing but the backlash from vocal shortsighted individuals ruined their chances and that’s pathetic on many levels and the fact that people like you castigate MS for trying to innovate is also pathetic.

Knowing how and when to bring a product or feature set to market is crucial. Being first to market doesn’t always guarantee success, nor is it always a good idea. The Xbox was a game console first and foremost. Choosing to focus on non-gaming features first was an obvious mistake. You think the casual consumer tooned in to that initial Xbox One unveiling? Absolutely not. So why was it catered to the average consumer and not Xbox enthusiasts? There’s really no good answer to that.

This. Apple doesn’t launch random, arbitrary products or features that are out of step with the progress of technology or culture. They time the releases of their big new ventures (Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.) for when the technology has reached a tipping point for it to be useful and accessible to literally billions of people.

Kinect was not only too janky and unrefined (could have benefitted from 5 years of research into machine learning / neural networks) but also not suited to what gamers wanted after years of Wii motion games and mobile touch games.

Kinect technology is in every current iPhone and every iPhone since iPhone X. Apple bought PrimeSense because they liked the Kinect technology so much.

Which actually kind of proves the point that the above commenter was making. Apple waited until the technology was refined enough and useful enough that it could be utilised in a broader way (Face ID).

Exactly. Apple didn’t stuff the kinect technology into a phone as soon as possible, and it likely would have been a failure had they done so.

I have long been an Xbox gamer. Purchased a release Xbone. While I dont begrudge them for forcing Kinect on me, I would have much preferred to save $100 and not have that seldom used piece of hardware taking up space in my home.

Most people with an Xbox dont want/need/intend to use a Kinect beyond some very brief "since Ive got it, might as well try it" moments. MS lost a lot of ground by pricing the Xbone 25% higher than the PS4 during the launch window.

This was a mistake, and whats worse is they knew exactly what adoption was going to look like as they had already tried it once on the 360. That was during the OG wii motion control craze so if it was going to get traction, it would have happened then. They foolishly tried to force the issue by requiring all purchases to include it to their market penetration detriment.

Adoption was high for the 360 though

They sold 8 million kinects for 360. More than any other peripheral in history. High is an understatment.

Which might have been the problem. I think it blinded them a bit. The 360 Kinect sold a truck load but it never had particularly strong developer support (fair enough, 8 million units is still a small portion of 360 owners), and I don’t think MS expected consumers to be over it so quick. It was a bit of a Wii Balance Board repeat where it had its day but there was no long term demand for it.

Given consoles take years to develop, MS probably had backed themselves into a corner a few years prior to the Ones release and didn’t want to go back on the work they’d done.

The backlash over the online DRM checks still annoys me. It became one of these media and fan storms, and in the end what they ended up cancelling was the ability to use the games you already bought without getting up to switch the disk, as long as you were online.

That was a great feature that fans protested and they caved in on…

Exactly, people always complain about how the Xbox One launch was lackluster, but that was a direct result of the backlash from the "hardcore gamer" crowd causing MS to gimp some intended features .

What I wanted was the comprehensive Xbox One feature set that MS promoted prior to release. What I got was a device that was compromised due to the tender feelings of some gamers.

The backlash over the online DRM checks still annoys me

Are you trying to say that not being able to play on a military submarine off the coast of Guam isn’t a major issue? < /sarcasm>

Yeah, it was very sad to see so many people complain about this so vehemently when the XBOX 360 did such a good job at digital distribution and most of the world was ready for an always-connected game console.

Ah the old military submarine talking point.

Mobs are wild.

I would argue it the focus with the xbox one just wasn’t good. Nintendo started with a focus on casual games and fitness with the Wii, which did alienate fans, but they were mostly won over when Wii Tennis, exite truck et al which were actually really fun, and then having the only AAA launch be a gamecube port of Zelda with extra waggle was ok.

The Kinect launch titles were real bad, TVTVTV was irrelevant outside of North America. They didn’t convince core gamers, it’s perfectly worth alienating them at some point tbh since the market was continually expanding.

It’s funny everyone focuses on the Kinect part. Kinect has been dead for years. The big news is that EVERY other XB1 game will be BC.

To this day, a percentage of people still believe that you need to have an always on internet connection to use it. MS fucked up big time with that and their messaging. Sony scrambled last minute to undercut MS and look how the generation went. They had a more powerful box, it looked nicer and it was cheaper. No brainer for the core demographic. I’m hindsight we can see that MS basically beat many competitors to the market with things like Amazon Echo and Google Assistants as well as the Facebook Portal.

Kinect definitely should’ve been optional, but I don’t think it ever could’ve been mainstream like the Wiimote once was. People like holding things, people like friction, people like some kind of physical connection/feedback. It’s sort of the same thing with Siri and Alexa, people complain about them more than they actually enjoy them these days, because using them feels like helplessly yelling into the void (in the Kinect’s case, waving at/staring into the void) and hoping it works, and when you don’t have some kind of physical feedback then it’s more noticeable when it doesn’t work than when it does. To a lesser extent, it’s the same thing how Apple wasn’t perceived as taking gaming seriously until they added controller support, touchscreens are very adaptable but not very satisfying to use because there’s no friction and no feedback.

I’m with you. I love the Kinect, although it mostly gets used for voice search and turning the tv on and off.

It’s our intent

And also, no mention on whether the Lockhart version will support Xbox One games.

There’s no [official] mention of this Lockhart even existing, so there would be no mentions on if it’s able to play all the games on something that doesn’t [yet] exist.

Given that it’s expected to be roughly on spec with the Xbox One X, it will probably run all Xbox One games with a moderate upgrade.

It’s also possible it’s just a discless version of the Series X, in which case it will run games the same as the mainline Series X.

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