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Since the launch of the original Kinect in 2010, Microsoft’s motion control device has had a fairly mixed reception, and now it looks like it’s finally time to say goodbye. The Xbox peripheral will no longer be produced by Microsoft and once current stocks run out it will finally be discontinued.
As reported by Fast Company , the manufacturing of Kinect has been stopped, and although support will apparently continue for owners of the device on an Xbox console, Kinect support for developers is still up in the air. This means that, after seven years as part of the Microsoft family, the motion sensor controller is being retired.
Initially seen as Microsoft’s answer to the Nintendo Wii’s successful use of motion control, Kinect launched onto the scene promising full-body, hands free motion sensing for the Xbox 360. However, the device did not live up to expectations. A mediocre library of games wasn’t enough to entice the masses, and issues with lag made precise control difficult for players and developers alike.
Undeterred, Microsoft then doubled down on Kinect with the launch of the Xbox One, initially packaging the updated version of the device alongside the console as a requirement, but even this did little to make sure that Kinect was a mandatory part of the Xbox experience. Slowly but surely, Microsoft’s stance on the essential nature of Kinect softened, with Kinect gestures removed and the Xbox One itself made available at retail without the pack-in motion controller. With the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X missing a dedicated Kinect port , many suspected that the device’s time was nearly up.
Although Kinect has been much maligned as a gaming device, with the controller never receiving anywhere close to the level of software support that users could have hoped for, it did provide some use for Xbox One owners in other ways. Indeed, the Kinect allows users to access some of the Xbox One’s hidden features, in particular when it comes to livestreaming gameplay sessions and making use of the console’s Cortana compatibility.
When all is said and done, though, Kinect’s legacy will likely be tied to its lack of support, and its failure to match the success of Nintendo in the world of motion control. Given that Xbox users have a wealth of history to call upon, as seen by those original Xbox games announced for Xbox One compatibility, it would be surprising to see Kinect last long in the memory, particularly with other devices such as the HoloLens on the horizon.