Why your Xbox won’t shut down when it’s told to

Xbox, power up. Xbox, power down. Xbox, do my laundry. This is the science fiction-based dream Kinect has made somewhat possible for Xbox 360 owners. With verbal cues, you can navigate your Xbox dashboard, start playing games, download music, and all sorts of activities. However, unlike the fantasy presented at the beginning, you can’t tell your Xbox to shut down, power up, or damn the torpedoes. “But why not?” cry the masses.

As with all things, it ultimately comes down to power. “To be able to listen all the time for you to turn it on means there [would have to be] some amount of power going to the sensor,” Microsoft’s head of the Kinect project, Alex Kipman, recently explained to Kotaku. Being eco-friendly has its price, unfortunately. So why not “power down”? That seems power-conservative. Well, because Kipman says if you have one, then people will expect the other. So, in other words, it’s all or nothing, baby.

Plus, the amount of nerd rage that would flow forth every time a wicked high score is interrupted by your jerk friends walking into the room and saying “Xbox, power down” would be too much to handle.