I have waited on the release of next-gen consoles for a long time and yet, now that it's here and my Xbox One is plugged into my TV, I haven't even figured out how to use all of its functions; it feels like I need to learn a whole new way of navigating a game console. Microsoft developed their system with a pretty revolutionary UI , but weaving through all of the funky tiles and pages the first time around feels like a jungle. Trying to find basic things can be an absolute nightmare at times which is odd considering the One's predecessor had simple menus that even an 8-year-old could navigate through it.
Xbox Live has always been about your friends and connecting with them in whatever way possible but with Xbox One, it feels like there's a tedious process and two different loading screens just to get to your basic friends list. I also haven't figured out if Skype is required for party chat yet as I can barely find the XBL party options that I know are there because I accessed them accidentally and then lost them in the abyss a few short moments later. I'm going to stop there since I can't even begin to start talking about the desert storm that is the Live Marketplace.
So now, you need to turn to the Kinect. The problem, however, is it takes awhile to navigate through the system and find the Kinect settings. To be fair, that might only be because I messed up the initial Kinect calibration at the system set-up and had to find the option to re-calibrate. But once you get it set just right with your TV and voice, you can have the TV almost as loud as you want and it'll learn to pick-up your vocal commands without having to yell which is pretty neat.
With all that said, learning all of Kinect 2.0's voice commands is tedious but it's very much worth it and helps you ease through everything in seconds... I guess that seems kind of shady I since it feels like you need the Kinect to access the ease-of-use functions but maybe I'm just a super noob and don't know what the 4-some buttons on the controller do (yeesh). Either way, once you have it set-up, you almost don't ever need to touch the controller for anything but a game since every major button on the interface, as far as I'm concerned, can be pushed through voice or kinect motion; "Xbox, go home", "Xbox, snap Skype", "Xbox, Play Killer Instinct" and even app features can be commanded through voice like Xbox' snap feature and even the "call [friend]" function. It can all be done that easily. Now, you can still use a controller and rid yourself of what people call "gimmicks" but they're cool once you get around to using them.
Part of what you got with the system is the supposed "All-in-one" experience too which was quite nifty. Immediately after linking the One to the Cable Box through one of two of the only easy processes in the system (the other being powering on the console) I could pretty much trash all the remote controllers in the area if I wanted to. When we had a bunch of people over and many things to get ready for, accessing your Xbox and even your cable television through voice was way cool and made me feel in command while doing other things (hue).
So in a nutshell, you must get one big headache to remove all future headaches. Trying to find my way at first was such a pain and even now, I still haven't been able to access every function I want to but I'm learning and it's becoming easier. So while the Kinext is not required, they might as well slap the "Better with Kinect" sticker on the console itself. Even then, it definitely seems like MS has heavily leaned to creating the ultimate living room experience rather than an all-in gaming system. Of course that comes with timing since all of the anticipated XBO titles were pushed back to early next year which puts it behind the curve in terms of PR. All these functions are neat but give me some games!!!