kinect

Microsoft kills off Xbox Kinect motion sensor

Image credit: dt

Microsoft has announced that it has stopped producing the Kinect, a motion-sensing camera and microphone accessory that was designed to allow consumers to interact with their Xbox consoles in innovative ways.

First introduced in 2010 for the Xbox 360, the accessory sold well initially although it ultimately lacked a ‘killer’ game that would have catapulted it into being a ‘must-have’ purchase.

The hardware was later updated in the form of Kinect 2.0 and included with every Xbox One, Microsoft’s successor to the 360.

This decision proved controversial as it forced the price of the Xbox One above £400, considerably more than its rival, Sony’s Playstation PS4.

In 2014, a year after the Xbox One’s release, Microsoft started selling the console without the accessory in an attempt to lower the price and boost sales.

This ultimately led to the Kinect’s demise, as developers could no longer be sure that everyone with an Xbox One would also own the Kinect device.

In an interview with Co.Design, Microsoft said it will continue to support Kinect for customers on Xbox, but will stop manufacturing the peripheral.

While the Xbox One launched with plenty of features centred around the Kinect, including controlling the interface with motion gestures, these slowly became de-emphasised as Microsoft switched focus back to a more typically game-orientated device.

This shift in direction and lack of software support has left the peripheral largely redundant for Xbox players in 2017.

However, the core technology will not go to waste as Microsoft is including it in its Hololens ‘mixed reality’ headset, which is still under development and hasn’t been released commercially yet.

It has also gone on to inspire other devices, such as Apple’s soon-to-be-released iPhone X which will include depth-sensing cameras to allow owners to unlock the device using their face, in much the same way that the Kinect recognises a user’s face to log them into the Xbox One console. Apple bought PrimeSense, the company the developed the original Kinect hardware.

The device was used by British researchers last year to monitor the breathing of patients with serious lung conditions.

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