Microsoft made a big deal about its Kinect accessory over the years, and for good reason. The sensor was pretty revolutionary in how well it could track motion, recognize faces and other objects, and use the player’s voice for features within the game and console. Despite all of this the Kinect never truly caught on, though it sold over 35 million units across Xbox 360 and Xbox One. And now, seven years after its debut, Microsoft has confirmed that Kinect is officially dead, with production ceasing across the board.
The announcement comes via Fast Co Designs who learned directly from Microsoft about the end of Kinect. This shift will come as little surprise to gamers, who have seen Microsoft go from focusing on Kinect games and including it in every Xbox One purchase, to not mentioning the device at E3 and phasing it out of new consoles. The Xbox One S allowed you to use the Kinect, but lacked the proprietary connection it used, requiring owners to purchase or apply for a free adapter.
As far as why the Kinect has shifted so much into the background over the years, Microsoft had this to say, “When we introduced Xbox One, we designed it to have the best experience with the Kinect. That was our goal with the Xbox One launch,” says Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing. “And like all product launches, you monitor that over time, you learn and adjust.” What they found was that gamers cared more about game performance than the features of the Kinect, so they invested accordingly.
It’s currently unclear if there is any future for Kinect, which did branch out beyond gaming to be used in science and education fields. Microsoft has released many tools for developers to utilize Kinect, and these might be discontinued as well. Those with a Kinect can still get support for the device, as long as the warranty is valid.