Microsoft has confirmed that production of the Kinect unit, which used to be supplied with every Xbox console, has now ceased.
Press outlets began reporting on the situation yesterday and Microsoft finally confirmed the fact with a statement. They said that while manufacturing for the Xbox One Kinect hardware might have stopped it is not the end of the road for the technology.
They added that tens of millions of users continue to keep Kinect alive using it with Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, and Mixed Windows Reality headsets. Microsoft also hinted that some future technologies may take advantage of the units.
Kinect was originally teased in 2009 as Project Natal. In a generation where the Wii Remote control had completely changed consumer thoughts on motion control Kinect brought controller free games to life when it launched in 2010. The device even allowed owners to interact with their console via voice commands.
While Kinect was an initial success it soon became apparent that the games for it were designed for very specific play areas. If a user had a room slightly smaller than required the controls would be all over the place, with some not working at all. Even though a number of great titles, including fitness games, utilised the technology it wasn’t enough to bring Kinect to the forefront.
Now with Virtual Reality scaling to the room space available there is no room for technology that needs players to knock through walls in order to interact with their games effectively.
When Kinect launched it sold 8 million units in the first 60 days of being on sale. In February 2013, three years after release, the numbers had risen to 24 million, though at that point there was very little popularity for it in gaming. The lifetime sales for Kinect currently stand at 35 million units to date.
When Microsoft made Xbox One bundles include Kinect so consumers couldn’t have a console without one the attitude turned towards anger with the device for driving up the launch price of the Xbox One. Finally Microsoft released Kinect-free Xbox One consoles which had more power for developers to utilise thanks to the lack of Kinect processing power reserve, and it was around $100 cheaper.