The small device for Xbox that was designed to make gamers more active and let them control the TV through voice commands is dead, Microsoft has confirmed to Co.Design. But the technology lives on.
35m units sold
Kinect was launched in 2010 as an accessory for Xbox 360. In its first year, the small black device looked like an unstoppable sales success, helped by a $500 million marketing campaign.
The rest is history. Fewer and fewer games compatible with the motion system were released and the voice command system was not ready for prime time. When Microsoft later tried to make Kinect an integral part of the Xbox One, which sold for $100 more than PlayStation 4, customers pushed back.
Microsoft later made Kinect an optional accessory for Xbox One and rebranded the box as a pure game console. From that point on, it became clear that the Kinect was on the way out.
The technology lives on
The technology lives on – both inside and outside of Microsoft. Computers are gaining, besides a brain, eyes and ears in the form of intelligent cameras and microphones. Kinect was the first step.
- ”Next up? Hololens R&D will continue mandating that the Kinect sensor gets even better. I’m told an unannounced V5 version for the Kinect will sip on less than 1.5W at its most active – making it around 50 times more power-efficient than the original Kinect,” CO.Design reported after an interview with Alex Kipman, the creator of Kinect.
Microsoft will continue to develop the technology for use in the HoloLens, the company’s ‘Mixed reality’ glasses. This will require not just far more advanced cameras but also more energy-efficient ones.
Kinect for Xbox is dead – production has been halted and retailers are selling off their existing stock – but the technology is not. It will remain alive in a new form that may one day change the world.