Microsoft’s Kinect is an awesome piece of hardware, but following their phone exit, will now cease production. The device was first introduced for the Xbox 360 and then updated for the Xbox One and featured an impressive array of technology including an RBG camera, depth sensor and microphone array that allow users to command their Xbox using voice, or interact with game elements by moving their body, rather than just the controller.
Developers got creative with the hardware and that seen the rise of Kinect Hacks, communities sharing their innovation uses of the technology. To aid this creativity, Microsoft introduced a Kinect for Windows.
Microsoft ending production doesn’t mean existing Kinects (many tens of millions were sold) will stop working, but it does mean support for Kinect in future games won’t happen.
The timing does seem strange given the rise of voice assistants in the home. After Xbox’s were upgraded to run on the Windows 10 code base, Kinect paired with Xbox was looking like a decent platform to build on for Microsoft’s Cortana.
Kinect also allows for recognition of individuals and could automatically sign you into your account, great for multi-user homes. This gets awfully clumsy without Kinect. There’s no replacement, just an end to production.
While Microsoft continues to make its revenues through software and services in the cloud, it seems the hardware division is being thinned considerably and that’s to the detriment of consumers.