According to an interview with Polygon, Microsoft says the vast majority of people who own a Kinect still use it.
“I can say that the people with Kinect still make up a very, very sizable portion and that those people do use it quite frequently. Less for games, but a lot more for biometric sign-in and user interface.” said Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer for Xbox in the interview. Biometric sign in means letting the Kinect scan your face and automatically sign you in. The Kinect allows you to move through the user interface through voice commands or gestures.
There have been a small number of games that have capitalized on the peripheral. Most have been music games, like Dance Central Spotlight, Just Dance and Fantasia: Music Evolved. The peripheral has also been popular in a number of kids games. But for the most part, companies ignore the device or slap on extra content that’s not necessary to the gameplay.
As for its non-game uses, lots of people have said the voice commands don’t work at all. I know I’m a sample size of one, but the voice commands work almost all of the time for me, and I’ve found them handy when I need to quickly stop playing a game or watching a movie.
There’s a big update to the Xbox One dashboard on the way that downplays the use of Kinect for navigation. Voice commands will still be there, but gesturing to move through menus will be gone. In addition, Cortana will soon be coming to Xbox One and will make use of the voice commands as well. Hopefully she won’t bounce up and down to get your attention like she does in Windows 10, but we’ll just have to see.
Kinect was a standard part of the Xbox One when it launched, but Microsoft changed it into an add-on peripheral after some consumer backlash. Removing the Kinect also enabled Microsoft to drop $100 off the cost of the Xbox One.
Personally, I love my Kinect, and I still think it’s a worthwhile purchase, especially if you have kids.