Microsoft considered building Kinect directly into the Xbox One

"We actually built models of that," designer Carl Ledbetter says.

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Microsoft considered making Kinect a permanent feature of the Xbox One by building it directly into the hardware itself. Xbox industrial designer Carl Ledbetter says in a new interview with Develop that, "We actually built models of that."

Microsoft would ultimately decide against this, in part because building Kinect directly into the Xbox One simply made the system too large.

"We pushed ourselves, can we put it all in one? Is that going to work? And the technology just isn't there yet. As soon as you have something much bigger than the Kinect sensor people don't want to put it by the TV, it's too big," Ledbetter said.

It's unclear how seriously Microsoft was about releasing an Xbox One with a non-removable Kinect. Microsoft built 75 Xbox One prototypes, including one that didn't have an disc drive, before settling on the model you see today.

Following fan feedback, Microsoft announced a $399 Xbox One model last week that does not include Kinect. You'll be able to buy the camera separately later this year, and the current $499 model with Kinect will remain on sale.

Microsoft maintains that Kinect remains an important part of the Xbox One's platform strategy. In fact, unbundling Kinect from Xbox One will actually lead to greater Kinect sales in the long run, according to Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer.

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