Now that April 1st is behind us, we can get back to serious news, and Microsoft has some seriously exciting news to announce. The Kinect team has some potentially great news for both Xbox One owners and Kinect developers using Windows. Starting today, Microsoft will no longer be producing Kinect for Windows v2 devices.
Microsoft claims, “Over the past several months, we have seen unprecedented demand from the developer community for Kinect sensors and have experienced difficulty keeping up with requests in some markets.” So rather than produce a separate Kinect sensor specialized for Windows development, Microsoft has developed the Kinect Adapter for Windows. The new adapter now allows any developer, who also happens to have a Xbox One, use their current Kinect in the same manner they would have, if they were developing with the Kinect for Windows v2. More importantly, Kinect developers can now directly buy the unbundled Xbox One Kinect for roughly $50 cheaper online or at Microsoft retail stores.
The adapter is currently set to work with Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PC’s and tablets and it’s a safe assumption it will work with the upcoming Windows 10 release as well. Aside from clearing up the seemingly unnecessary redundancy in the Kinect ecosystem, enabling the adapter functionality has a promising two-fold effect on the future of Kinect. For starters, the entry into Kinect development has been lowered. Casual developers and gamers who were undecided on the financial commitment of buying a secondary development Kinect for $200 can now pick up the adapter for $49.99. Secondly, with the upcoming unified Windows 10 OS, Kinect development on both the Windows and Xbox platforms should, hopefully, bleed into one another. The experiences developers are creating using the Kinect for Windows in retail, healthcare, education and manufacturing, could potentially make their way to an Xbox One and vice versa.
Using the same sensors in healthcare, and the position of the Kinect in some people’s living room, could make doctors visits as comfortable as a Skype call. Perhaps, retail shopping jumps off the pages of Amazon and becomes a multimedia experience in the living room. Users can use their hands, voice and gestures to get a better feel of products before purchasing.
Barring any glaring stumbles, the Xbox One, and Kinect’s value proposition could begin to shine, depending on how Microsoft implements Windows 10 on it.