Kinect is dead. And this time, it’s official. After years of debate whether Kinect is truly dead or not, Microsoft has admitted that it has now stopped manufacturing the accessory. The software company launched the depth camera and microphone accessory in 2010, as Microsoft’s motion sensor add-on for the Xbox 360 gaming console.
The news was confirmed to Fast Co Design in an interview, where Alex Kipman, creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing confirmed that Microsoft will no longer manufacture the devices once the retailers sell off their existing stock. The officials further mentioned that Microsoft will continue to support customers who bought Kinect, but it’s unclear whether developer tools will remain supported.
Launched on November 4, 2010, Kinect has sold over 35 million units since its debut. Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 even became the fastest-selling consumer device back in 2011, winning recognition from Guinness World Records at that time. There were reports that Microsoft even tried to bring Kinect to the mainstream market with the Xbox One, but the pricing and features failed to live up to expectations. ALSO READ: Xbox One X: Microsoft shows off its 4K-enabled gaming console in latest commercial
The report further hinted that Kinect will continue to live through Hololens. The core sensor in the Kinect is being used in Microsoft Hololens which Microsoft sees as an ambitious AR project. “HoloLens uses many of the Kinect technologies for depth-sensing, and many laptops now ship with Windows Hello cameras that use the learnings of Kinect to recognise people’s faces,” the report mentioned.
The Kinect system identifies individual players through face recognition and voice recognition. A depth camera creates a skeleton image of a player while the motion sensor detects their movements. Speech recognition software allows the system to understand spoken commands and gesture recognition enables the tracking of player movement. Kinect’s development codename was Project Natal. Microsoft chose the name Kinect as a portmanteau of the words kinetic and connect, which the company considers the two key purposes of the system. ALSO READ: Microsoft HoloLens 2 to also feature in-house designed AI processor
Although Kinect was developed for playing games, the technology has been applied to real-world applications like virtual shopping, education, telehealth service delivery and health IT to name a few.