Microsoft officially ceases Kinect production

Ben Parfitt
Microsoft officially ceases Kinect production

The initially successfully but eventually resented motion camera Kinect is no longer in production.

Fast Company was first out of the gate with the news yesterday, and the report has now been confirmed by Microsoft.

“Manufacturing for Kinect for Xbox One has ended but it is not the end of the journey for the technology,” a statement released to Polygon said. “Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners and Kinect innovations live on in Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Mixed Reality and future technologies.”

Kinect was first introduced as an Xbox 360 accessory in 2010, having been teased a year earlier under the name Project Natal. At a time when the Wii’s motion-control revolution looked like it was reshaping gaming forever, Kinect offered a controller-free solution where players could control games using movement and gesture.

And when it worked, it was great. Sadly, developers found it hard to reliably and accurately track motion at the required level of detail, leading to some frustrating game experiences. And the ample space requirements were a large hurdle for many buyers, as room-scale VR continues to find today.

At launch Kinect sold a whopping 8m units in its first 60 days on the market, and by February 2013 sales had reached 24m. By this stage, though, its popularity in gaming had almost completely dried up.

When it was forced upon buyers of the Xbox One – driving up the already steep launch price of the machine – any good will it had left was virtually extinguished. It didn’t help, either, that Microsoft reportedly lured advertisers on the Kinect 2.0’s consumer data gathering capabilities, with one ill-fated report quoting the company as promising commercial partners “a huge new trove of data”. Microsoft, for its part, always challenged the claims.

In 2014 Microsoft finally conceded and released a Kinect-free Xbox One SKU, which was $100 as a result. The processing power previously reserved for the camera was also freed up for developers.

Lifetime Kinect sales stand at 35m units.

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