Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten told IGN that the motion-controlled, voice-enabled peripheral won't be absolutely necessary.
"That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn't plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor," Whitten told the gaming news website, also confirming the Kinect can be turned off completely when plugged in.
"You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won't work," Whitten said.
The news follows similar revelations that Microsoft would be backing off its previous policy that the Xbox One would need to be 'always online.'
Microsoft had also initially said playing some used games would require a fee, but then backed down on that policy too.
The Xbox One is set for release later this year, for $550.