Microsoft's latest in a series of Xbox One U-Turns could end up being the biggest mistake it has made so far.
Overnight, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One will function just fine even if the new Kinect is unplugged from the console, a dramatic change of policy from the always-connected console announced earlier this year.
"When we first announced Xbox One, we did intend for Kinect to be plugged in for the console to work," a statement from Microsoft reads. "As we've progressed in the development cycle we've revised our approach so that the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in. Xbox One is still designed to work best with Kinect plugged in."
Initially, the reversal sounds like a good move. After all, much of the Xbox One criticism has centred on the need for Kinect – a device core gamers often view as an abomination to the hobby they love so much. However, Microsoft has now backed itself into a particularly grim corner and has nowhere to go.
As it stands, the Xbox One will launch in November priced £429 - which includes the next generation Kinect. But now that we know the device isn't required, why should consumers be made to pay for it if they don't want it?
Of course, Microsoft could counter this by offering a new SKU without Kinect, cutting the cost to somewhere in the region of the £349 PS4, and a swift announcement at Gamescom seems possible.
But the problem is that neither option can provide Microsoft with the win it so badly needs. Stick with its guns at £429 and it runs the risk of further annoying the core market by forcing them to cough up a large sum of money for something they don't really want. It's no surprise to hear that the PS4 is pre-ordering so strongly given its clear focus on core gamers.
But if it was to drop Kinect to form a new SKU, Microsoft would be as good as killing Kinect's chances of being fully-integrated into the Xbox One experience going forward. Why would – and why should - developers make use of a peripheral which isn't guaranteed to be in homes?
Then there's the huge investment Microsoft has made in developing the next-gen Kinect, which could turn out to be a colossal waste of money if it isn't sold with all consoles.
Last month an anonymous (but verified) Xbox One developer revealed that the next-gen Kinect cost as much to develop as the Xbox One itself.
"The majority of the masses care only about the console," wrote the developer. "Except that the success of the Kinect carries much more weight to us. The sensor costs almost as much as the console to make."
Demoting Kinect to an optional accessory would give the device little chance of warranting its development cost, especially given that Microsoft could have used this money to improve on the core console – perhaps bringing its processing and graphical capabilities in-line with, or ahead of, the PS4.
The anonymous dev also noted that enabling the Xbox One to function with Kinect unplugged would "undermine our guarantee to game developers". Dropping Kinect could cause all manner of headaches for Microsoft, putting stress on its relationships with publishers who have invested large sums to develop for Kinect on the promise the device would be a requirement.
I really don't know what Microsoft will do next, but given the platform holder's apparent slapdash approach to policy changes it wouldn't be too surprising to see even more twists and turns in the run up to the console's November launch.