Microsoft has confirmed that it is no longer manufacturing the Xbox Kinect. Alex Kipman and Matthew Larsen (the guys behind the creation of Kinect) confirmed the news in an interview with Fastcodesign.
Microsoft will continue to support customers who bought Kinect though, but it’s unclear whether developer tools will remain supported.
The last version, the Kinect 2.0 which was intended to be automatically bundled with all Xbox One units received bad reviews because it takes a huge chunk of the device’s processing power. With its negative reviews, the accessory was removed from the bundle and remains as a standalone purchase. In the years since the sales have diminished, only three Kinect-specific games were released in 2017 and only 21 games for the Kinect in total.
That’s not to say the Kinect wasn’t a rousing success in its time. The device was truly revolutionary when it debuted in 2010 and the company managed to move around 35 million units. The product’s depth sensing and voice recognition ushered in a new era of interactive gaming, going well beyond what Nintendo had managed with its Wiimotes, four years prior.
The power of the Kinect also extended well beyond the console. It was a relatively cheap, accessible and became a favorite of the DIY community, spawning a sub-genre of Kinect hacks. For a while, the things were popping up in the most unexpected places. Over the years, a number of universities have used Kinects for everything from 3D scanning to robotic vision. In 2012, in the set of Laika’s stop-motion film, ParaNorman, a Kinect being used for production.
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This may be the end for the Kinect as an accessory; however the technology will live on. The software originally created for Kinect has gone on to power Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant, Windows’ facial ID system, and the Microsoft HoloLens project.