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Kinect For Windows Releasing On February 1 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the press-any-key-or-flail-spastically-to-continue dept.
clinko writes "Microsoft has announced that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries, at a suggested retail price of US $249 ($149 for edu). Microsoft has chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows; they will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime. These will be available free to developers and end-users respectively."
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Kinect For Windows Releasing On February 1

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  • Why So expensive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:16AM (#38660910)

    I can get a Xbox 360 with a Kinect for $200. So, why should I pay more for just the hardware? Wasn't the hardware just on sale for Christmas for like $99?

    • by Wattos (2268108) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:40AM (#38660998)

      On the Xbox M$ gets a cut from every game sold (even if it was produced by a third party studio). On the PC, not so much.

      This means, that M$ can afford to sell the hardware at a lower price point, and then getting the money back in game sales. On the PC, this business model does not work, therefore the hardware price increases.

      • Re:Why So expensive? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:48AM (#38661018)

        Sensible.

        But: OP says he can get xbox+Kinect at $199, or even as low as $99.

        Summary states just Kinect $249.

        So even if you're just after the kinekt it's cheaper to buy the combo, and you can put the xbox itself on ebay afterwards.

        Unless the hardware is radically different (the software to use it would be available for free) and presumably better it just doesn't make sense.

        • Re:Why So expensive? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Zocalo (252965) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @03:51AM (#38661230) Homepage
          No, that still makes sense. Microsoft would still get some revenue back from the games sold for the subsidised Xbox from the combo that was sold on eBay without the Kinnect, so still (presumably) ends up with a net profit.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Well, obviously it would make sense for a business to sell you something unnecessarily expensively.

            I think the point is that it doesn't make sense for the consumer. The xbox kinect can be used with a regular computer, so why get a "windows kinect" for more when you could get the cheaper one and use it with your pc computer?

            Is this better hardware, perhaps with higher resolution? Or is there some hurdle put in the hardware and API for windows-kinect to prohibit us from using the cheaper xbox one with future

            • Re:Why So expensive? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:59AM (#38664632)

              Is this better hardware, perhaps with higher resolution? Or is there some hurdle put in the hardware and API for windows-kinect to prohibit us from using the cheaper xbox one with future windows kinect games?

              Both.

              The retail SDK will not support Xbox kinect, while the beta SDK will.

              Second, the PC version features a "near mode" that allows for PC use without needing the living room space. So instead of hving to interact with Kinect from 6-10' away, you can be as close as a couple of feet (it degrades gently though, so the absolute minimum is just under a foot and a third).

              Finally, the Xbox Kinect runs the IR camera at QVGA resolution. This is because the Xbox's USB 2 host is not fast enough (theoretical performance is 30MB/sec, and they're only getting about half that). So the sensor resolution is compromised because the USB bus is too slow on the Xbox. (They're supposed to be working hard to fix it and to get closer to the theoretical max).

              PCs don't have this issue, except for cheaper lower end ones. This means Windows Kinect can run both cameras at VGA resolution enabling far better depth mapping. Heck, it may be possible to adjust based on PC performance (some PCs have crappy USB ports that cause USB errors and USB downshifts to 1.1 because of it). This would be interesting as Kinect may be one of the first USB peripherals with high isochronous bandwidth demands that most PCs would rarely encounter.

        • Re:Why So expensive? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Eirenarch (1099517) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:10AM (#38661296)

          The final version of the SDK will only work with Kinect for Windows hardware (meanwhile the Beta version license will be extended by 3 years and will continue to work with normal Kinect). Kinect for Windows will feature Near Mode as well.

          If you want officially supported SDK you need Kinect for Windows. That's the deal.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The hardware is slightly different, in that the external power supply and Kinect -> USB conversion cable is not included in the Xbox + Kinect purchase, while it is included in the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360 purchase. This means that you wouldn't be able to do what you state, as the Kinect requires the additional cable to plug into a USB port.

          I assume the alternative, buying the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360, won't be accepted by the official SDK's release driver. You could still use the open sou

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Haxagon (2454432)
          Actually, it is different. This SKU is able to focus on near objects, unlike the old one that was designed for living rooms.
        • by ubrgeek (679399)
          I'd like to know where OP thinks such a deal exists. MS sets the price and even the lowest-end Xbox (4gb) with the kinect is $299. Amazon had a deal where it was $279 plus $100 credit at Amazon (which is when we got ours) but that kind of thing is _rare_. CompUSA (who knew they even still existed?) had the package for $199 for about one day during the holiday, but it required in-store pickup.
          • by asylumx (881307)
            The 4gb model, with kinect, was on sale for $199 at several stores on black friday. Walmart was one of the most prominent.
        • The hardware will be different. One of the things is the normal kinect starts detecting from about 80cm.
          If you want to put a kinect on your desk, that's not very practical, so they changed that.
          And there are more changes, for what I know...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @03:50AM (#38661224)

        An honest, insightful, well-stated point, from someone who insists on calling Microsoft "M$"...

        Quick, someone check the pigs for wings!

        • Allow me to explain why I overlook "M$". Microsoft started out making BASIC interpreters, in which string variable names ended with $ much as all PHP variable names start with $. An example of a valid statement in old line-numbered BASIC is the following:

          10 LET M$ = "Microsoft"

        • by spitzak (4019)

          Distinguishing M$ from MS (which means Mississippi, Multiple Sclerosis, and is the stock symbol for Morgan Stanley, and a dozen other uses that way predate the formation of Microsoft) seems pretty reasonable. It also reads better because you are forced to pronounce it as either "Microsoft" or at least "m-soft", rather than "miss". And as pointed out it looks like the string variables in the Basic that was Bill Gate's original claim to fame.

          The people who are horrified that this implies that their beloved co

    • by acid_andy (534219)

      I can get a Xbox 360 with a Kinect for $200. So, why should I pay more for just the hardware? Wasn't the hardware just on sale for Christmas for like $99?

      Fun PC gaming always has to be more expensive otherwise why would anyone bother buying one of their stupid consoles? Oh, OK, all their friends have one, and they even call it a "computer" (Pedants: yes the consoles do compute but they're hardly as general purpose as PCs without some work). Sorry about the sarcasm but I'm sick of PC gaming (and by many young people even PCs) being sidelined and often limited to crappy console ports delivered late. Kinect for Windows is still kinda cool though. Maybe they'll

    • Because, as the summary so graciously left our, the Kinect for Windows hardware is able to focus up to 50 centimeters, much closer than the previous model. This is a much better SKU for up-close projects that will be on desktops.
    • The hardware is different. I don't know if that justifies the price difference, but if it doesn't make it more expensive to build you would think they'd just incorporate the changes into the XBox version to save them money on manufacturing, but it doesn't sound like they will.

      This all seems like a moot point since they extended the ability to use the XBox version on PCs by 3 years. What are you complaining about?

      The higher price is aimed at developers who actually intend to sell their products. MS won't get

    • Re:Why So expensive? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bobtree (105901) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @09:06AM (#38662730)

      The PC version of Kinect is also a new version of the hardware, and it can be used accurately at 1/2 meter range. See: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kinectforwindows/archive/2011/11/22/kinect-for-windows-building-the-future.aspx [msdn.com]

  • If it's bumped up $100 over the older Kinect, are they actively going to make sure the console version is crippled?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The console version is crippled by the limited bandwidth of USB2 as interface...

      • Don't see anything about it being USB3.
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It's restricted by the Xbox 360's dodgy USB controller, not by the available bandwidth. And reportedly that's something that will be addressed in software.

    • by Kwirl (877607) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:46AM (#38661012)

      Or you could, you know, read the article. The directly address why the windows version costs $100 more than the Xbox version, and after reading the entire article, I think it is both justified and reasonable. While I have little expectation that you are going to read this reply, given that I use words, like the article, I am going to summarize the important parts with regards to your statement.

      The Kinect for Xbox was subsidized by Live subscriptions and game sales, with the PC version they are going to focus on the hardware and allow people to innovate with their hardware for free. Instead of paying for licenses to develop or for support, etc - you pay the entire cost at purchase, and you will get support for the product without expense.

      While you can complain and gripe about the extra hundred dollars, I would implore you to maybe stop and think about what you are getting for the price. Why don't we ask around and see how much other companies are charging for a single device that includes video and audio functionality as well as speech to text translation and motion capture. At $250 this device is a steal. Yeah, times are tough, money isn't raining from the skies, but with all the iMorons blowing through apple products like a new york heroin addict in the hills of Afghanistan, well, skip an update on your phone one month.

      I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse. They could price this at 500 dollars and I'd put down money that every retailer would blow through their inventory. At 250 dollars, not only will they put one on every computer inside of 2 and a half years, but they are laying down a foundation for young engineers, scientists, hackers and hobbyists to create a community with vast potential.

      While this site often condemns the 'greed' of corporations such as MS, Sony, Google, etc - I think this is a case where I feel proud to have put my money towards innovation.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        I tried reading the article sorry press release. Which is mostly marketing speak, lots of talk about how great and innovative it is (and I don't take their word for it as it's a press release) and got barely halfway.

        Then I checked out Wikipedia to get an idea of what it really is.

        Any somewhat independent review of this one would be appreciated. From the looks of it, it sounds like a very interesting device indeed. Now if only Microsoft would put more of that innovative power in their other products... but w

        • by Kwirl (877607)

          go look around on google - yes, the article had marketing buzzwords, its how business works, but beyond that - over the last year so many amazing things have come from the kinect - the hacking/modding community was come up with some very innovative ways to use it and the science schools have already done magic with this thing - didn't MIT use a kinect hack to do a real time holographic projection chat? it was crude, but it was a beginning

      • "Or you could, you know, read the article. The directly address why the windows version costs $100 more than the Xbox version, and after reading the entire article, I think it is both justified and reasonable. While I have little expectation that you are going to read this reply, given that I use words, like the article, I am going to summarize the important parts with regards to your statement."

        I have read your reply and I note that you have indeed used words. Might have been a good idea if you had r

      • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:28AM (#38661368)

        It's probably not worth your time. The people complaining will be the PC gaming zealots that hate this device because it originated from the console.

        The same people who will gladly blow the best part of $1000 on the latest and greatest graphics card at release.

        As you say, what you get for your money, particularly relative to the cost of many other PC gaming components, this is a steal regardless.

        Really, this was one of the most impressive things about Kinect from the outset, not that the technology itself was pretty impressive, but that Microsoft had managed to do such impressive tech cheaply, when previously such technology would've cost over 4x as much to put together yourself.

        • PC Gaming Zealots only surface when console fan boys can't admit technological inferiority. Who cares we buy nice graphics cards on launch. These help with frames and gameplay. No effort to show us how a $250 kinect will improve our desktop gameplay has been made. Atleast I can get benchmarks on my new GeForce 4977hundred ex ct overclocked new edition. :)
          • by Xest (935314)

            "PC Gaming Zealots only surface when console fan boys can't admit technological inferiority."

            That's probably because console gamers are too busy actually just getting on with playing games, for the most part they're people who have more fun playing games than engaging in verbal masturbation about how you've managed to sacrifice a few weeks of your video card's life for a whole extra 1fps.

            Simply put they don't care about the technology, they just want to play games to unwind, and consoles are the easiest way

      • by migla (1099771)

        >Or you could, you know, read the article.

        I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave.

        If I'm going to use it in an unofficial capacity, such as 3d-modelling on Linux or put it on a robot whose brain runs Linux, then I should stick it to the MS and get the subsidised X-box one?

        • No because if you don't buy one, they lose the full price of the cost of manufacturing and distributing. If you buy one, even if they are selling at a loss, they get some of that back. You can 'stick it to them' by buying their competition's products.
          • by Sockatume (732728)

            You missed "If I'm going to use it in an unofficial capacity". If it's a prerequisite that he is going to get a Kinect, then he should get the subsidised one.

        • I think that if you really want to "stick it to the MS"(joke?) you shouldn't buy it at all. I don't follow why people would want to stick it too them in this instance anyway. I haven't read the article but there's more to the unit than the cost of the hardware, there's software and research and QA etc. I haven't given much thought to wheather or not I agree with their pricing, other than it does seem high, however if they wanted to cut the desktop market out they wouldn't do that via pricing, they simply wo
          • by migla (1099771)

            >I don't follow why people would want to stick it too them in this instance anyway.

            I, personally, would take the opportunity to stick it to M$ because they are capitalists and they are about non-free software. That part about sticking it to them was more or less a joke, though. It would seem silly to fight capitalism in general and M$ by buying a kinect, even if I would only use a reverse engineered API (or whatever) on GNU/Linux. But dismantling the whole capitalist system is such a big undertaking, so

        • by Haxagon (2454432)
          As long as you don't want your Kinect to be able to focus at 50cm, I guess. You'll need an external power supply for the Kinect, though
      • by Anonymous Coward

        > I believe that the Kinect is going to do more to revolutionize computer interaction, gaming and functionality more than any invention since the second button on a mouse. They could price this at 500 dollars and I'd put down money that every retailer would blow through their inventory. At 250 dollars, not only will they put one on every computer inside of 2 and a half years, but they are laying down a foundation for young engineers, scientists, hackers and hobbyists to create a community with vast poten

        • by flirno (945854)
          Yeah I'd prefer the mouse. Anyone who is out of shape or older is going to prefer the mouse. Anyone doing time consuming work on a computer is going to use the mouse. It just seems very non-ergonomic as an interface for use when sitting down at a computer. Now if you were using the computer hooked up to a 60 inch screen sure. But a computer with a small monitor on a desk? No way.
          • by Kelbear (870538)

            It seems like it could be a useful design tool for 3d navigation.

            If you want to twist an object around for a certain perspective, you could just lift your hand slightly and turn the object around to the position you want to see, then go back to working on the object with your mouse.

            Obviously, this is something you can do without Kinect, and you can probably do it with more precision with the existing control. But having the ability to quickly and casually interact with it to see results from different persp

      • by na1led (1030470)
        This technology is not new. I used to setup CCTV security cameras for small businesses, and we had motion tracking PTZ cameras back in 2008. Some of the newest security camera software like GeoVision have many features to track and recognize faces and objects.
      • I see it as all good to sell the "hardware" which is costly to produce and requires a large infrastructure investment, and give away the software, which once development is done, is essentially free to reproduce (very low cost anyways). It is certainly a refreshing departure from Microsoft's traditional view that hardware should be free and software what people pay for... from a production point of view it is completely ridiculous. The ease of software reproduction makes it a concept difficult to enforce. I

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        So you get less for more money and that's "justified"? I'm a firm believer in "cost plus" pricing. Sell what you make at 10% over cost, and sell lots of them. But no, it's "what will the market bear" pricing on everything, milking some and loss-selling elsewhere, then whining like idiots when the X-Box version gets sold to PC users and used there because, as far as I can tell, it's the same thing (or people buy your PS3 and use it as a computer)..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ....Microsoft shattered the existing controller paradigm by inventing a new natural user interface system that enables advanced human tracking, gesture recognition, voice control and more.

    Wait, just wait till you flip off your computer and yell at it. Then you tell me this is a good idea!

    I preferred it when my computer was oblivious to my gestures and voice.

  • Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.

    If there is any major crippling, here would be the major part of it.

  • by KazW (1136177) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @03:14AM (#38661098)
    The Kinect has a user base of 18 million units world wide, let's assume only half of those are USB units, that's 9 million units. Instead of Microsoft allowing home users to use their XBox Kinect with Windows Metro apps, home users will be forced to buy a new Kinect to use it with Windows apps (commercial apps anyways, they can use apps made with the beta SDK).

    With this move Microsoft has reduced the PC user base of Kinect to 0, eliminating a huge audience for developers. The reason given was that the XBox Kinect was subsidized by game sales, but if using that defence, why not just subsidize this Kinect through the new app store Windows 8 will have? This would let home users use their existing Kinect and keep Microsoft's bottom line doing well in the long term. This is just a very dumb move overall.

    Foreword to pro-M$ trolls, I did RTFA and I know about the "near" feature of this new Kinect, but it still doesn't justify this move.
    • Good point, I hadn't thought of that, but you're right -- why did they just cut out 9 million potential users? I thought they were still trying to grab gaming market share at any cost, but I guess that only applies to the console space (because they really want to be in your living room).

      There's one person here so far trying to say that even at $250 it's good value, but they aren't convincing. Waving your arms at your PC is not the future, especially when you have $25 of components wrapped up in a $250 pack

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      "let's assume only half of those are USB units"

      I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you're thinking about the "Kinect" port on the new Xboxes, it's truncated so that normal USB devices won't fit, but the corresponding Kinect plug will fit into a normal USB port.

    • locking it to Metro only may be anti trust.

      Also other laws may make so you can buy this and write code for any API and sell the app. I think thing the courts will let MS say you can only use this high end web cam that you buy with apps only from our store what are going to sue any only who try to put Kinect code in there own apps?

    • >The reason given was that the XBox Kinect was subsidized by game sales, but if using that defence, why not just subsidize this Kinect through the new app store Windows 8 will have?

      XBox games cost $30 to $60 each. Metro Apps will cost far far below that, most in the low single digits(of which MS gets only 30%) and many free apps with ads(MS gets zero). Just look at the prices of apps in the Mac app store.

  • I mean, really? What would you use a kinect for sitting at your desk in front of your computer screen? Waving your arms in the air? Oh, wait...

  • by KazW (1136177) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @03:26AM (#38661152)
    If a user shakes their fist rock-paper-scissors style at their screen, it opens the browser to their favourite porn site in private mode.
    • by kiehlster (844523)
      Great idea until your roomie comes up to you while you're at your computer and says, "Shoot you for the last beer in the fridge! Best of three!"
  • Hmm, why do we need a Kinect for Window? To use gestures on a PC? For education and doing cool stuff (automated rigging, 3D scans and so on) people already using the available hardware to achive their goals. Do we need the PC version to work with windows and their tools more efficiently? Or for PC games (PC games = games in front of a pc, high likely in a comfortable chair) ? I am just a bit confused about the why. Please enlighten me.
    • Kinect is Microsoft's one and only hit in recent years. Hackers the world over are writing their own drivers for it. By making it available for windows they encourage developers to write UI software for hardware which MSFT would dearly like to sell.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:53AM (#38661468) Journal

      My experience of the Kinect? It's a very clever piece of hardware and very attractively priced - even in its PC incarnation. There's no end of things that can be done with it. I do suspect that this is what replaces the TV remote control. The only thing we know for sure that it's rubbish at is controlling video games.

      Outside of exercise software (where it's good, once you accept its limitations) it makes for a horrible game controller. Despite the craze for alternative control schemes during the current console generation, I don't think anything will be displacing the twinstick controller and the mouse/keyboard combination as the dominant game input methods any time soon.

    • by flirno (945854)
      It has a lot of uses unfortunately these uses do little for general desktop computer users...because tiring out the arms of a computer user (or giving them a new class of motion injury) is going to make the mass consumer market prefer it over the mouse (not).
  • Why Kinect for Windows? Why not Kinect for PC? If, as the summary says, Microsoft has chosen a hardware-only business model, then there's no reason they should tie it to a single OS.
  • by slim (1652)

    I have a Kinect, but I never use the motion sensing aspect since my living room is just slightly too small. For it to see my whole body, I have to to stand as far back as I can. I don't think my room is all that small by British standards (millions of people live in Victorian semis like mine).

    I find myself wishing there was a wide angle lens addon (would that work?)

    People's desktop PCs tend to be in studies that are smaller than the rooms where they keep their PCs. And people tend to sit in front of PCs. I

    • by oPless (63249)

      http://nyko.com/products/product-detail/?name=Zoom [nyko.com]

      It works - mostly. You need to reboot the xbox after installing it.

      YMMV though.

    • by ledow (319597)

      Not being funny but surely you already had to have turned on the Xbox and inserted the DVD and pushed it back into the drive in order for things like "Play DVD" to work? That would involve either physical contact or a remote control of some kind first, no?

      In which case, wouldn't a play button on the front have actually been infinitely more useful? Fair enough, for navigation, and other uses but "Play DVD" seems to be the voice-recognition equivalent of "Eject Disc". Really useful, but you're going to nee

  • I have once again overestimated Microsoft... I didn't think they'd find a way to screw this up.

    But $250?? Are you fucking cracked? I bought one for $150 LAST YEAR. So, basically, KNOWING that most of the people who want a Kinect for their computer already bought Xbox ones, they've decided not only to sell a SPECIAL one for computers, but to almost DOUBLE the price?

  • Can't wait to see the Minecraft plugin! I'll be spending hours swinging my arm in a hacking motion! Though, my neighbors might think I'm a sadistic axe murderer.
  • No thanks, I'll stick to the keyboard + mouse or gamepad. I've already spent my novelty minutes for silly motion-controlled games on some early Wii games, and I spent my novelty minutes for Minority Report-style desktop controls back when the P5 glove came out. It makes your arms tired.

    • by flirno (945854)
      It will go the way of the light pen which is still around but used only in niche roles.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Making your arms tired once in a while, or even your whole body, isn't the worst thing in the world.

      IMHO the killer app for Kinect is Dance Central 2. It's like Dance Dance Revolution, but without the dance pad, which is a nuisance, wears out, and (like the Wii) can't actually see you dancing - it's really just 4 big buttons. And the problematic latency of the Kinect isn't a problem for dancing games, since you're not controlling them - just receiving a score which only needs to be in near real-time.

      B

  • One of the claimed improvements is near mode, HOWEVER the hardware within the 360 Kinect also has a 50cm minimum distance limit. I can't help but suspect that people are going to do side-by-side tear downs only to find theres little change apart from the SKU number in the firmware.

    The annoying thing is....a good near mode (20cm) would be a godsend for certain kinds of research since that class of hardware still comes in at a few thousand $. Have a look at Omnitouch (Harrison et al, 2011) for some examples o

    • by nomel (244635)

      Has anyone tried to physically offset the camera so that it's farther from the sensor, to increase parallax?

  • I can't help but think you might be able to do some cool things if you taped a Wii Motion Plus remote to a Kinect and waved it around. Easy all-aspect 3-D?

  • Aside from home brew and "alternative" uses for Kinect on a PC, I think motion control gaming on the PC platform is pretty useless.

    Trying to play Kinect games off a laptop or even worse, a desktop, in some vain attempt for Microsoft to dominate all forms of game platforms is probably not going to be very popular. I really can't see drawing a bunch of friends into my office to play games, I don't have the room to accommodate a large number of people in my office, opposed to my Living Room which traditionall

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