Microsoft will roll out an official PC edition of Kinect on February 1st, Microsoft has announced.
Hardware will be sold in limited quantities across 12 countries – United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Spain.
“Developers who have existing non-commercial deployments using our beta 2 SDK may continue using beta 2 and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware,” Microsoft said.
“To accommodate this, we are extending the time of the beta 2 license from June 16, 2013 for three more years, to June 16, 2016.
“However, we expect that as Kinect for Windows hardware becomes readily available, developers will shift their development efforts to Kinect for Windows hardware in conjunction with the latest SDK and runtime.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced yesterday that 18 million Kinect units had been shipped for the Xbox 360.
Since its launch in 2010, Kinect has inspired coding enthusiasts and developers to build their own hack applications for the device. [See Develop’s examination of the craze]
Microsoft wants to take hold of this trend and channel those people into building official applications for a custom-made app store.
In November the company rolled out a second beta edition of its Kinect software development kit for Windows. The updated SDK provides faster and more accurate skeletal tracking and joint recognition, as well as the ability to plug and unplug Kinect without losing work.
Microsoft is also on the hunt for ten new games and applications that make inspired use of the Kinect motion controller, and is offering investment and support to help tempt developers to take part.
Known as the Kinect Accelerator Program, those approved to take part will be given $20,000 in seed investment, as well as an Xbox development kit, office space in Washington, the Windows Kinect SDK and technical training and support.
Developers and entrepreneurs will stay in Washington State for around three months, at the end of which they will pitch their Kinect ideas to entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives.