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Microsoft XBox (Games) Hardware

Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect (fastcodesign.com) 61

Manufacturing of the Kinect has shut down, reports FastMagazine: Originally created for the Xbox 360, Microsoft's watershed depth camera and voice recognition microphone sold about 35 million units since its debut in 2010, but Microsoft will no longer produce it when retailers sell off their existing stock. The company will continue to support Kinect for customers on Xbox, but ongoing developer tools remain unclear. Microsoft shared the news with Co.Design in exclusive interviews with Alex Kipman, creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing. The Kinect had already been slowly de-emphasized by Microsoft, as the Xbox team anchored back around traditional gaming to counter the PS4, rather than take its more experimental approach to entertainment. Yet while the Kinect as a standalone product is off the market, its core sensor lives on. Kinect v4 -- and soon to be, v5 -- power Microsoft's augmented reality Hololens, which Kipman also created. Meanwhile, Kinect's team of specialists have gone on to build essential Microsoft technologies, including the Cortana voice assistant, the Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface for the future that Microsoft dubs Gaze, Gesture and Voice (GGV).
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Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect

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  • if my wrists weren't turned into a knotted, gnarled mess from years of forced motion controls in games.
  • I have the XBox One. It came with the Kinect. I can sit in front of the TV, and I get auto logged in. Are they removing the Kinect for the X? Or after the X?
    • I have the XBox One. It came with the Kinect. I can sit in front of the TV, and I get auto logged in.

      Similarly with the camera for PS4. And it's about the only use I have for it. I prefer to lounge on a couch to play games, not run around the living room. Maybe Microsoft realized there's only a small subset of users that were interested in it?

      • Sony and Microsoft saw the success of the Wii with casual gamers, tried to copy the concept and force it for all games, regular and hardcore gamers didn't want it, the concept crashed and burned.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      The Xbox One stopped shipping with the Kinect a long time ago. They dropped it so they could lower the price of the console the help counter the PS4. The XBox One S doesn't even include the port for it, you have to get a Kinect to USB dongle.
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @12:08PM (#55430705) Journal

      I can sit in front of the TV, and I get auto logged in.

      Doesn't work for me. The Kinect keeps trying to log me in as Brad Pitt.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The people saying it was no good are just the casual dumbasses that tried to use it to game or whatever.

    Developers on the other hand had a field day with them. Very interesting and useful tech that was used for all sorts of cool projects that still continue to this day.

  • Wasted potential (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dstyle5 ( 702493 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @11:58AM (#55430637)
    I picked up a launch Xbox One where the Kinect came bundled with the system and while the Kinect hardware was really good Microsoft blew it on the software/gaming side of things. Early games for the system only used it for in game voice commands, which I never used. The voice commands are nice for turning the system on and off, launching a game or app, but that's about it.

    The wasted potential part was where were the big first party games/demos that used it? Augmented reality games, something maybe like Sony's Playroom. I was really shocked Microsoft had nothing clever like this to demo the Kinect hardware. They seemed apathetic towards it a launch and that continued on during its lifespan. In the latest Xbox software update they added support for 3rd party webcams, so the demise of the Kinect isn't all that surprising.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. The kids and their friends love it, my wife loves it, even my mom loves it. My dad is impressed but is resisting the kids' pleas. They could have had the next Wii if they paired it with a cheap download-only box. It doesn't even have to be recent hardware, even something last-gen would do.

      They even had a workout program that uses the Kinect to sense your heart rate and calories burned, and tracks you as you go through tons of videos via a subscription service. We had bought the Xbox One with this in

    • Kinect was superior over Nintendo's and Sony's offerings (I've used them all in the XBox 360 era). My complain also rests on the game side of things - some were too Kinect-reliant - eg. navigating menus only with Kinect when using D-pad would be a lot more efficient. But as a technology I thought Kinect was great. Zumba World Party - lots of fun.
      • Kinect Star Wars. The game has a terrible reputation; it's often seen as a total joke. However, my experience with it is a bit different.

        A friend who has an X360 wanted to host a barbecue night and wanted to get a multiplayer-friendly game for that. I talked him into getting Kinect Star Wars as a joke before we'd get to the real games. So we put it in, got everything set up and launched straight into the dance minigame.

        Six hours later we had finally obtained top ranking on all songs, burned off almost a
        • Copious amounts of alcohol at a party makes many things of dubious quality seem more funny/sexy/insightful/awesome than when you face them in the harsh light of sobriety the next morning.

          • We were actually sober. That game really is a pretty damn good party game.
            • Ah, well, then that's not *nearly* as interesting a story. It's a lot funnier if you talk about how you were horrified the next morning when you woke up with a pounding headache, lying next to a half-opened Kinect Star Wars case and thought "OMG. Did I... play that last night?"

        • I never noticed that game before. It looks friggen awesome! I'm going to have to look for it in the discount rack. Darth Vader vs. Emperor dance off [youtube.com] - priceless!
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Kinect was superior over Nintendo's and Sony's offerings (I've used them all in the XBox 360 era). My complain also rests on the game side of things - some were too Kinect-reliant - eg. navigating menus only with Kinect when using D-pad would be a lot more efficient. But as a technology I thought Kinect was great. Zumba World Party - lots of fun.

        That's because Kinect actually did proper depth sensing. The Xbox360 Kinect used structured light fields (which Apple is using for the iPhone X Face ID "3D mapping"

    • You're thinking of "Kinect Party".
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      That was really the only good Kinect game I ever found. All other games had a bunch of troubles: direct sunlight anywhere in the room made it useless, small kids often wouldn't be detected (good gravy, the tears in our house over that...), and it required a decent amount of open floor-space. I don't want to have to move a recliner just to play a game!

      Good hardware, but the software just wasn't up to scratch...

      • by JMZero ( 449047 )

        There was a ton of Kinect games that my kids were straight-up not able to play - it felt like you had to hack through 3 layers of "anti-child-security" to even get some of them started (to be clear, these were games aimed at kids), then at some point it would fail to detect player and drop out.

        But yeah, Kinect Party (after the rename, I think it was called something else previously) was the most fun my (at the time very young) kids ever had with a video game. It's bizarre that it wasn't duplicated, as it w

      • We got a Kinect so that our kids could move around a bit without having to exit the home in the dark winter evenings. Other than the bundled "Kinect Sports Rivals" and "Dance Central Spotlight", we also found Kung-Fu for Kinect [kungfuforkinect.com] and Fru [engadget.com] enjoyable. In particular, Fru is a rather cool game where your body silhouette becomes part of the gamescape and you have to manipulate it to ascend levels.

    • The real tragedy is that in just a few years kids will not recognize the Kinect scenes in Paranormal Activity 4.

  • Kinect was a good product with some great applications both on the 360 and the Xbone. The reason that it fell flat was because they tried to charge $100 more for the Xbone with the kinect and wanted it to spy on you 24/7. If they had bundled it at the same price point as PS4, kept the same UI and store interface as the 360, made all 360 kinect titles backwards compatible to Xbone and not tried to dick over the customers with always online/spying, the Xbone launch would have been a lot smoother and more co

  • I bought a connect with our XBox 360 and I like it. It's nice for the kids to be able to move around on rainy days. It did a good job at what it promised to do and I was surprised how accurate it was to control. Is anything replacing it? This is the only kind of device I could envision replacing a mouse some day. Controllers with gyroscopes just don't cut it.
  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @12:18PM (#55430765)
    What do you mean nobody wanted a microphone and HD camera focused 24/7 on their living room or bedroom (or kid's bedroom)?

    In addition to the forced Kinect, the launch of X-Bone was crippled by the announced constant DRM, the attempt to kill off 2nd hand game sales and zero backwards compatibility. It was also intended as a platform to force-feed ads, first and foremost:
    https://www.vg247.com/2013/07/... [vg247.com]

    “On Xbox, the ad is part of the actual experience, it’s not something that is outside. The only difference is that the advertisement we have is quite small and not disruptive so people are not aware of clicking on the banners because they know this is a part of the whole experience on the dash.

    “So the users know that this is something that when they click on it, they won’t be hit by something crazy or something dangerous like on the web. Everything that lands there, we create.”

    One source called the development of adverts for Xbox One “exciting”, because, “the 360 console wasn’t built with advertising in mind, it was more of an afterthought, so we’ve had to adapt to the technology and how we work to fit them in to the console, whereas this new one is going to have advertising in mind.

    “So a lot of the limitations that we have now, hopefully the release of the boundaries will widened so the opportunities will be a lot greater.”

    http://hothardware.com/news/mi... [hothardware.com]

    The Xbox is developing native advertising, where ad content is displayed alongside relevant material, either embedded in search results, promoted on a network like Facebook, or a "Liked X? You'll Love Y!" style of marketing. Not to worry, though -- the company plans to use Kinect to make these advertisements even more engaging than their current counterparts. In the future, Kinect may offer you a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style narrative in which you speak commands or give orders to an ad as its playing to change the final outcome.

    The other way the company wants to use Kinect is to monitor what's going on in the living room to serve you group-appropriate content, rather than resorting to the plain old method of bombarding you with non-interactive advertising for things you don't care about. Microsoft claims that the demographic data the ad team can access is very limited, but it's hard not to see shadows of the same patent for movie licensing that the company applied for last year.

    • What do you mean nobody wanted a microphone and HD camera focused 24/7 on their living room or bedroom (or kid's bedroom)?

      If your Xbox360 was on 24/7 you likely have a different problem. But then you also played the think of the children card which means ... you're a politician posing as a nerd on Slashdot to infiltrate us so you *definitely* have a different problem.

  • Come on people, this is Slashdot ... someone has to relate it to the Minority Report user interface.
  • I actually loved the Kinect, it's what got me onto the XBox in the first place. I wanted a way of having fun/playing games, while also being active. I might be in the minority but I thoroughly enjoyed the Kinect.
  • MS canceling a stupid product of theirs. Who would have thunk.
  • by snookiex ( 1814614 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @01:59PM (#55431515) Homepage

    I recently bought a second-hand Kinect 1 to use it in my robotics pet projects and it looked very promising (see OpenKinect [openkinect.org] and OpenCV [opencv.org]). Why can't MS kill Windows 10 instead?

  • It took me a few second to remember what it was about.

  • When they kept pushing Kinect during the XBOne launch, I assumed they would eventually pair it with a VR headset. A VR system that knows where your legs, arms (and perhaps even fingers) are could have been really cool. Stomping things with your Godzilla legs or whatever could have been pretty neat.

    Barring VR, they needed more creative experiences instead of using the Kinect as a terrible controller. Kinect Party was good. A simple "use your body to animate characters on screen" game would have been grea

  • by iMadeGhostzilla ( 1851560 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @02:49PM (#55431859)

    The developers I mean (including MS) -- they relied on skeleton tracking, which misses all too often, as the primary control, instead of relying on depth points first and using skeleton tracking data only as a backup. The outline of the player almost never misses, so if you see your outline inside the game you can reliably trigger all sorts of virtual triggers around you. I made a couple of PC games that did that and you could play them for hours (classic arcades, for a very niche market, recently they were accepted for ID@Xbox, I might go ahead and publish them anyway). To my knowledge only two non-dance games used that scheme, one is Fruit Ninja and the other was a Kung Fu game which was well done but it was sort of a 2D scroller and the player faced away from the screen which looked odd.

    The other thing that slowed down the adoption on the PC a lot IMO was that you needed an adapter. MS probably though Kinect was going to be so awesome they wanted to control the entrance to the gates. In retrospect that was a bad move.

    • I don't know about the Kinect 2, but the old version can't just use the power from a USB port because it needs to feed a silly motor. When it comes to priorities I think portability comes first.

      • Yes I forgot about that, you're right, it's the power thing, since they wanted the Kinect to not require a separate power supply when used with an Xbox. I can't blame MS for that. The Asus Xtion didn't need a power supply but its IR was slightly weaker than Kinect's. And Kinect 2 may need more power for its time-of-flight lasers than a typical USB could supply.

  • The kinect has always been a smoking deal, and has enabled some really cool robotics research that otherwise wouldn't have been possible without a $20k outlay for laser rangefinders of comparable speed and resolution. Thankfully, things have gotten much cheaper in that area since the kinect first came out, but it's still a sad day for the amateur/low-cost robotics crowd.

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