Microsoft stops manufacturing Kinect
A new report says that Microsoft has stopped manufacturing Kinect, the once popular camera accessory for the Xbox brand that become a toxic part of Xbox’s tattered image in 2013.
The report says that Kinect will no longer be manufactured for consumer use but will still have a place in Microsoft’s R&D division, presumably to help with HoloLens development.
Kinect was released in 2010 as an add-on for the Xbox 360. It added camera-based motion controls to the system and kept the 2005 console popular through 2013. It even sold 35 million units!
Once 2013 rolled around the general gaming population had soured on Kinect. It wasn’t truly as revolutionary in terms of motion controls as fans had hoped and many of the Kinect-based games weren’t very good.
Microsoft then forced all Xbox One systems to come with a Kinect in 2013 and didn’t offer a Kinect-less SKU until summer 2014. This jacked the price of the system up to $499, $100 more expensive than Sony’s PS4 at launch. Kinect and Microsoft’s insistence on including it with every Xbox One played a big part, among other things like used game DRM, in reversing a decade of goodwill the company had built with gamers.
In 2016, Microsoft shipped the Xbox One S, a redesigned model of the 2013 console. The S model and new X model coming out next month both lack ports for Kinect on them. Consumers who want to use Kinect on these Xbox One models have to order a special USB adapter to make it work. Microsoft has even removed much of Kinect’s voice commands from the Xbox One’s OS, which was once a big marketable feature in 2013.
Kinect is also famous for the many wasted years legendary game studio Rare spent working with it. Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002 from Nintendo and in 2008 put them to work on making avatars for Xbox 360 and Kinect games like Kinect Sports. The once proud studio who made Goldeneye 007, Donkey Kong Country, Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie has yet to release a non-Kinect focused game since 2008’s Banjo: Nuts & Bolts. They will release Sea of Thieves, a shared world pirate adventure in 2018.
So long Kinect! You were exciting for a little bit but stayed way, way too long.