If you already own an Xbox One Kinect and you're thinking of upgrading to the redesigned Xbox One S console, you should know that the upcoming system is the first Xbox One model to ship without a Kinect port.
"In order to make the Xbox One S as compact as possible and make all of these updates, we removed the dedicated Kinect port from the back," said Matt Lapsen, general manager of marketing for Xbox devices, in a post on the Xbox Wire.
It will still be possible to use a Kinect with the white console, although you'll need an adapter in order to plug the Kinect into one of the Xbox One S unit's three USB 3.0 ports. The accessory in question, the Kinect Adapter for Windows, regularly costs $49.99. Microsoft will be offering the adapter for free, but only to Xbox One S buyers who already own an Xbox One and an Xbox One Kinect.
Eligible customers will be able to order the free adapter on this page once the offer goes live. For now, Microsoft is recommending that interested parties ensure that the serial numbers for their current Xbox One and Kinect sensor are registered with the company's device support site.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox One in November 2013, every console came with a Kinect in the box, and the company presented the device as an essential peripheral. Over time, Microsoft gradually moved away from its emphasis on the Kinect. Last October, the company told Polygon that a "vast majority" of Xbox One Kinect owners still use the peripheral, but there are no Kinect games currently in development for the console.
At launch, the Kinect was a major piece of Microsoft's push for cable TV functionality. The peripheral features a built-in IR blaster, which allows the Xbox One to control other home theater equipment. An IR blaster is integrated into the front of the Xbox One S, and the back of the unit still features HDMI-in and HDMI-out ports, so the console can still control other devices even if a Kinect isn't plugged in. (The system also includes a port on the back for external IR blasters.)
For more on the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio, check out the video below. You can see an image of the Xbox One S console's rear ports above. Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox One S in August.
Update: Sometime after the Xbox One S debuts, Microsoft will begin shipping Kinect sensors with the USB adapter in the box, said Jeff Henshaw, group program manager for Xbox, in an interview with Polygon at E3. Henshaw added that Microsoft will sell that bundle for less than the stand-alone Kinect's current price of $99.99.
Correction: The Xbox One S console has three USB 3.0 ports, one on the front and two on the back. We've edited the article to reflect this.
Update 2 (Aug. 2): Xbox One S buyers who don't already own an Xbox One and an Xbox One Kinect will need to purchase the Kinect Adapter for Windows if they want to use a Kinect with the Xbox One S console. Microsoft has dropped the price of the accessory — it is now available for $39.99, $10 cheaper than before, on the Microsoft Store.
As for customers who are eligible for a free Kinect adapter, Microsoft is now telling them to contact Xbox support to request the accessory.
Additional reporting by Arthur Gies.