Microsoft announced today that it will discontinue the original Kinect for Windows. The company says that it will continue to sell the motion sensing camera device adapted for the Windows operating system until stock runs out.
"In October, we shipped the public release of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and its software development kit (SDK 2.0)," the company said in a statement released today. "The availability of the v2 sensor and SDK 2.0 means that we will be phasing out the sale of the original Kinect for Windows sensor in 2015."
Design Interactive, an Army Research Labs contractor, is using Microsoft's Kinect to create an augmented reality program that simulates sand for the U.S. military. The technology was recently shown off at the Modern Day Marine Expo at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., according to the Marine Corps. Times.
If you missed Saturday's live broadcast of Super Podcast Action Committee (Episode 112), you can watch the video replay on YouTube or download it below.
Earlier this year Microsoft decided to create a SKU that separated its Kinect motion sensing camera device from the Xbox One that sells for $399.99. At that time it said that it would release a stand-alone retail version of the device in the "fall," and did not provide a price point. Today Microsoft has revealed the pricing for the standalone Kinect, and a special Kinect bundle that will launch at the end of this year.
The future looks bright for Kinect if you believe Phil Harrison, corporate VP at Microsoft. Despite the separation of the motion sensing camera device from the Xbox One at retail earlier this year and a real lack of news about third-party developers supporting it, Harrison tells IGN that there's no need to worry about the Kinect's future despite the lack of big screen time at the Gamescom Xbox media briefing earlier this week.
Microsoft announced that Xbox One sales in the US in June were twice as much as they were in May thanks to the retail release of the Kinect-less bundle.
"Since the new Xbox One offering launched on June 9, we've seen sales of Xbox One more than double in the US, compared to sales in May," said the firm in an announcement late Wednesday afternoon.
The figures are based on "internal data based on retail calendar and sold through numbers" from Microsoft.
According to this pre-order page on the Microsoft Store, the Kinect for Windows v2 Sensor will be available for Windows PC users on July 15. One of the curious things about the page is that it lists the motion sensing camera technology for $200. That's about half the cost of buying an Xbox One without a Kinect. Hopefully this will not be the price when it releases the standalone retail version of the device sometime this fall for Xbox One.
Last week we asked readers, "Should Microsoft Bother Selling Xbox One's Kinect Separately?" The majority of those who voted in last week's poll believe that separating the Kinect from Xbox One and selling it as a spate purchase of around $100 is a good idea. Around 48 percent of you said that it was a good idea. Around 39 percent of you said "let it die," showing that being cynical is always an option.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft says that separating the Kinect from Xbox One at retail will not drive game developers away from utilizing the device. Speaking to GII, Spencer said that Microsoft expects that the stand-alone Kinect will sell well and the success of the device and the software that uses it is heavily reliant on having a strong Xbox One install base.
Earlier this week Microsoft said that the newest update provided a boost to developers using the Xbox One to develop their latest games. They claim that boost comes from resources that are used by Kinect. With the new Kinect-free Xbox One bundle coming out this month, everyone assumed that Microsoft meant that disconnecting the Kinect from the Xbox One magically made more resources available to the system. Eurogamer offered an extensive report yesterday.
During a conference call last night to discuss the latest quarter's results, games retailer GameStop said that it is seeing a greater interest in Xbox One since announcing the new Kinect-free SKU. Microsoft announced last week that it would roll out an Xbox One SKU that did not include the motion sensing camera technology and that it would be $100 cheaper at $399.
During the call last night, GameStop president Tony Bartel said the company is seeing "stronger demand" for the Xbox One since last week.
According to the industrial designer who helped build the prototype for the Xbox One, the Kinect motion sensing camera was built into the device at one point. In an interview with Develop, Xbox industrial designer Carl Ledbetter said that the Kinect was once built into the Xbox One unit, but Microsoft ultimately rejected the idea because the system was too large.
Last week we asked our readers, "Will the Removal of the Kinect Help Xbox One Sales?" Half of voters said that the new Kinect-free version of Xbox One will in fact help the company close the sales gap between the Xbox One and the PS4, but that Microsoft will not be able to surpass Sony by the year's end.
Starting June 9th, gamers will be able to purchase the Xbox One without the Kinect for $399.99, the same price the PS4 currently retails for.
That should level the playing field a bit, no?
As of early April, Sony announced that it had sold more than 7 million units. Microsoft says Xbox One has sold more than 5 million. Will unbundling the Kinect help the Xbox One sell more consoles? Enough to catch the PS4 by the year's end?
Microsoft doesn't plan on providing any compensation to those who have already bought an Xbox One, according to Eurogamer, though one has to ask the question - why would they? After yesterday's announcement that it would start offering the Xbox One without a Kinect for $399, GameSpot decided to ask Microsoft if it planned to offer any freebies to early adopters of the system.
Naturally the answer is an emphatic "no."
Aquifi, a company comprised of some of the team that developed "key elements" of the Microsoft Xbox One Kinect Technology today introduce the world to its new "Fluid Experience Technology." Fluid Experience Technology is a software-only platform that "will yield new economics and usability in the perceptual computing and gesture-control markets, by allowing a new style of 'adaptive' interface to be created," according to Aquifi.
New documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden cited in a new Guardian report indicate that UK spy agency GCHQ evaluated the potential of using the Xbox 360 (and now Xbox One) Kinect peripheral as a means to spy on people. The report also indicates that the agency also considered the usefulness of the PlayStation Eye as well.
While we don't have any specifics on what went on at this swank press event for the Xbox One, it sounds exciting. Apparently - according to 69 party photos posted on Revamp, the Entertainment Software Association and Microsoft put on a swank reveal party for the Xbox One in Washington D.C. The catered event at the W Washington, D.C. hotel was attended by members of Congress and Obama administration officials, according to the site.
Microsoft, trying to get a grip on the controversy surrounding just what its Kinect peripheral will capture, collect, and save, has released a page dedicated to explaining just what it will do when it is connected to the Xbox One launching later this month. Microsoft hopes that these disclosures related to the Kinect and its privacy policies will ease consumers who are concerned about the security of their information and activities recorded by Kinect.
An Advertising Age report highlighted by NeoGAF unearthed over the weekend has thrown some gasoline on a story that surfaced earlier this year about how Kinect could be used to improve the monetization of Xbox One customers.
In last week's poll we asked our readers "What would you do with the Kinect when the Xbox One’s not in use?" The majority of those who participated in the poll said that they would simply unplug it, while a small portion of respondents said that they would leave it plugged in and go about the business of playing games or whatever else they enjoy doing on Xbox One.
If you want an Xbox One this holiday season, you're getting a Kinect along with it whether you want one or not.
Some people don't like the Kinect. They think it's imprecise and the games are mostly crap.
Others, really don't like the idea of an always-on system pointing a camera and mic at their living area. I don't know about you, but my TV and console are in my bedroom. Yeah...
In an "Ask Microsoft Anything About Xbox One" feature over at IGN, Microsoft revealed another change of heart related to its upcoming Xbox One console: it doesn't have to be plugged into the Xbox One if you don't want to use it. This revelation came from Microsoft's Marc Whitten. In two sections about Kinect, Whitten explained what the different states of having the Kinect motion sensing and voice recognition technology turned on and off will mean:
Using Kinect, an artist named Luke Jerram has created an interesting pixilated sculpture of his daughter Maya. Using an Xbox Kinect, some aluminum sheets and more than 5,000 colored stickers, Mr. Jerram has built a sculpture on Platform 1 at Bristol Temple Meads train station in the U.K.