Microsoft just cannot get their story straight when it comes to the Xbox One. They have flip-flopped with information regarding almost every aspect of their upcoming console and now they have done it again with the Kinect.
In May, Microsoft's Harvey Eagle told reporters that in all cases, the Kinect must be connected to the Xbox One for normal operation. So far, Microsoft has switched back their policies on DRM as well.
Xbox Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten revealed that when using the Xbox One, the Kinect only enhances functionality but is not required. Many of the Xbox's features will be disabled if you choose to not run the Kinect, but playing games or entertainment content will work without the Kinect being plugged in.
When IGN asked Whitten what "off" meant with the Kinect, he responded that it truly means totally off. This means that you could buy an Xbox One and immediately put the Kinect in your closest without disabling core Xbox features like the ability to go online and play games.
Even as far back as February there were reports stating that the Kinect was mandatory and then Microsoft confirmed it a few months later. It just seems weird that Microsoft could get their story wrong so many times without simply telling lies each time that they are asked a question.
With as many 180's that Microsoft has made with the Xbox One, I would not even hold your breath with Whitten's statements, maybe he is wrong as well. At this point it seems as though Microsoft is simply testing out ideas through announcements to see how the public responds.
They have already done so with DRM by first stating that it would be part of the Xbox One and then reversing their position when people got made.