Microsoft Announces Kinect for Windows Coming February 1

Microsoft's last-ever CES keynote took place last night, and Steve Ballmer enlisted the help of American Idol host and radio DJ Ryan Seacrest when it came to hosting the show. We've got a full breakdown of the keynote itself here, but probably the most notable piece of news to come out of it was the revelation that Kinect is finally making its way to the PC.

Microsoft last night announced that it would release Kinect for Windows just a few weeks from now. The new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1 in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The suggested retail price is perhaps a tad steep for some folks ($249 for the U.S., international pricing not yet announced), but Microsoft says that this high price is because the company can't bank on people buying Kinect games along with the peripheral, as was the case with the Xbox 360 version.

"The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem," Craig Eisler, General Manager of Kinect for Windows, said in a statement. "In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform."

The $249 price tag includes a one-year warranty as well as access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking. Microsoft also said that while it encourages all developers to "understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software," devs using the SDK and Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware can continue to do so in their development activities if they want to. However, non-commercial deployments utilizing Kinect for Xbox and previously allowed under the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software.

"Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do," said Eisler, adding that it would be extending the beta license until 2016. "Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016."

  • dalethepcman
    This would be a good deal if the PC version of the kinect also worked on the 360. If they are somehow mutually exclusive, then for me it wouldn't be worth it.
  • cold fire
    Do they really expect people to buy this version for NON-commercial use when they can get the 360 version and use the same software with it for a fraction of the price?
  • internetlad
    It already IS on windows, just with custom drivers (does it need custom firmware?)
  • Swolern
    Interesting. I have my PC connected to my 55inch. It would be nice to do some navigating with just hands and voice.
  • classzero
    The $249 price tag includes a one-year warranty as well as access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking

    At $249 I will choose not to be an early adopter. If anything I will pull it off my xbox and use free software tools already available for download. 249 is a sure fire way to kill a technology or drive consumers to other products. $249 will get you a 7" tablet, a portable handheld dedicated gaming system, a new Android/iPhone, a video card, and much more. Good Luck Microsoft, but no thank you.
  • monsta
    $249......what the?
  • I sense there will be a massive amount of flailing idiocy as people try to navigate or game once this is released for PC. The image of a disco full of people who can't dance comes to mind.

    As far as gaming is concerned, it should be amusing to hear the influx of excuses as to why these players are getting their asses handed to them.
  • g4114rd0
    - “time will tell" microKinect 5$.
  • drwho1
    monsta$249......what the?
    At $2.45 I would still not be interested on this gimmick.
    At $245.00 .... I would much rather get ... something else.
    Errmmm.... why didn't they just allow the 360 Kinect to work on PC?

    It's not like you can't plug it in and use the SDK for it already.