The Microsoft Kinect experienced a rapid rise and a slow and deadly end – it was an inelegant end, as the company could not find a permanent place for the accessory formerly revolutionary. Now, Microsoft is finally ready to put the last nail in this coffin.
Kinect creator Alex Kipman and Xbox general manager Matthew Lapsen told Fast Co. that the company was winding up the device after a few years of gas removal . We have since confirmed the move with Microsoft.
This is not for lack of having tried, of course. After a 3D camera debut for the Xbox 360, the company began shipping the Kinect with its new Xbox One – but eventually downgraded making it mandatory part of the purchase. In the end, the players seemed to prefer a more traditional gaming experience. As Nintendo can tell you, these activity-based gaming trends tend to return to the mean after a while.
Of course, this does not mean that the Kinect was not an exciting success in its time. The device was truly revolutionary when it debuted in 2010, and all told, the company managed to move about 35 million units. Product Depth Detection and voice recognition ushered in a new era of interactive gaming, going well beyond what Nintendo had achieved with its Wiimotes four years ago.
The power of Kinect extended well beyond the console. It was relatively cheap and accessible and became a favorite of the DIY community, spawning a subgenre of Kinect hacks. For a moment, things arose in the most unexpected places. Over the years, I have visited a number of universities that have used them for everything from 3D scanning to robotic vision. In 2012, I made a trip to the whole film in Laika's stop motion, ParaNorman where one was used for production.
So, pour one for the old device, but do not cry it too much. The Kinect was too good to eliminate it completely. Deep Sensing has made its way onto a number of devices at the same time, from the Tango Project to the iPhone X, and Microsoft is also using the technology that it has built for current and future products.
"Kinect's manufacturing for Xbox One is over but it's not the end of the journey for technology," said a spokesperson at TechCrunch. "Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners and Kinect innovations live on Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Holographic and future technologies."