Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral, once a shining beacon in a sea of fledgling motion-control devices, is now being permanently discontinued.
Fast Co., speaking with Kinect creator Alex Kipman and Xbox GM Matthew Lapsen, confirmed the accessory has officially reached its end-of-life stage, with production having ceased. Following a booming debut back in 2010 that ended up moving tens of million of units, Kinect has slowly but surely failed to attract the buyers it once did, likely owing much to the fact that most gamers tend to prefer more traditional controller-based methods for Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles.
Kinect had myriad uses beyond its applications as a video game accessory, however. The 3D camera was a cheap and accessible tool for the DIY community, allowing for some impressive hacks with 3D scanning, movie production, and even medical appliances. For those who saw beyond its potential to let you interact with virtual animals or explore Disneyland, it was an invaluable resource for creative individuals.
Unfortunately, despite shipping the camera with Xbox One units as part of a bundled set and introducing new waves of motion-controlled games, Kinect sales couldn’t be bolstered enough to make the peripheral one that Microsoft could continue pushing. So although the Kinect was a pioneering device, offering user-friendly 3D camera tech on a consumer product that went well beyond PlayStation’s Move camera (1-1 controller tracking versus Kinect’s full-body tracking), it’s time to put an end to the death knell that’s being sounding for some time now.
Even so, despite the fact that Kinect will no longer be actively manufactured, Microsoft is still using the technology it brought to the table (depth sensing, for example) in products such as Windows 10 and the Xbox One. Kinect’s legacy is being preserved in the products it has influenced and will continue to do so long after the last copy of Kinect Sports has been removed from shelves. And by that time, we’ll all be ready to welcome Microsoft’s HoloLens into our homes.