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Microsoft Confirms New Xbox One Experience Drops Kinect Gestures

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Microsoft's New Xbox One Experience is coming to gamers on Nov. 12, with one of the more anticipated additions to the gaming console being backward compatibility for titles from its predecessor, the Xbox 360. Microsoft has recently released the first 104 titles that will be coming to the Xbox One from the Xbox 360, which includes Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and Assassin's Creed II.

Another change coming with the Windows 10-integrated New Xbox One Experience, however, involves the gestures that can be used with the gaming console's Kinect camera, or more specifically, the removal of these gestures.

With the Kinect camera, users can input certain commands through gestures. For example, pausing videos can be done by holding the hand up with the palm facing forward like making a stop sign, while going through options could be done by flicking a wrist.

Kinect gestures, however, did not work as seamlessly as expected, and not as intuitive as envisioned by Microsoft, with one reason being doing these gestures is not that much easier to do compared to pressing a button. With only a few users utilizing Kinect's gesture controls, Microsoft has decided that it will be taking out the feature once the new user interface lands through the New Xbox One Experience update.

"With gestures, the reality was the usage was very, very low. So for now, we've cut that from the New Xbox One Experience," said Mike Ybarra, who is leading the development of the New Xbox One Experience, in an interview. However, Ybarra said that the development team will monitor for feedback and will add the feature back in if users want it.

According to a spokesperson for Microsoft, Kinect gesture controls to navigate the Xbox One's dashboard would be removed with the upcoming update so that the focus would be on other user-requested features. However, Kinect-enabled features such as Kinect games, Skype video calls and biometric sign-ins will still be available.

Last month, Xbox chief marketing officer Mike Nichols said that most of the owners of the Kinect still use the device, though less for playing games and more for other functions such as utilizing the camera to navigate the user interface and biometric sign-ins. 

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