The new Xbox One Experience launching tomorrow will quietly smooth another shovelful of dirt on the grave of Kinect.
Kinect gestures won't be a part of the Xbox One dashboard anymore, says Mike Ybarra, director of program management and the person overseeing the console's big update. That's because Kinect gestures simply weren't being used enough to justify their continued inclusion.
"The reality was the usage was very, very low," Ybarra said in an interview with Windows Central, adding that "for now," they have been cut from the new dashboard. "We'll continue to monitor and listen to feedback to see if people want them in."
Voice commands, which also use the Kinect 2.0 sensor, will be left unchanged.
Gestures allowed users to scroll through pages on the dashboard, select and dismiss apps and zoom on some screens within them. They were an upgrade from similar navigation gestures on the Xbox 360 dashboard under the original Kinect.
Yet they're also another example of how the upgraded Kinect got very little traction with users since the console's 2013 launch, and has become symbolically irrelevant to Xbox One since Microsoft's decision to release console bundles without the Kinect last year. Kinect also had zero presence at Microsoft's E3 2015 keynote.
Last month, Xbox's top marketing executive said that "the people with Kinect still make up a very, very sizable portion" of the console's installation base, but Microsoft has no idea what the percentage is of users with the device and those without it.
Xbox One's new experience goes live to all users tomorrow, and it is a huge update to the console's operating environment and feature set. The biggest addition, of course, is backward compatibility with more than 100 Xbox 360 titles, and more to come in the future.