Microsoft has ended manufacturing of the Kinect, the motion sensor and microphone that was originally created for the Xbox 360.
The Kinect, with about 35 million units sold since its 2010 launch, is now officially dead. However, critics and fans of the device will not miss it, for two very different reasons.
Microsoft Shuts Down Kinect
In exclusive interviews with Fast Company, Kinect creator Alex Kipman and Xbox Devices Marketing general manager Matthew Lapsen revealed that Microsoft has shut down the production of Kinect.
This means that the current Kinect units in retailers are the last ones, and once they are all purchased, they will never be restocked. Microsoft, however, will still continue support for the Kinect, so users can still enjoy playing games created for the Xbox accessory.
The writing was on the wall for the Kinect, as Microsoft itself has already started on a path to a future without the device. The Xbox One S, released last year, did not have a port for the Kinect, as is the upcoming Xbox One X. That is a long drop for an accessory that was once made a mandatory part of purchasing the Xbox One.
Virtual Reality vs Kinect
Critics of the Kinect will not miss the Xbox accessory, as newer technologies have since eclipsed it.
The Kinect was undoubtedly a success when it was launched seven years ago, as it was a revolutionary device that opened up new genres of games and went beyond what Nintendo was able to offer with the Wii. However, the Kinect is now in the shadows of the rapid development of virtual reality, which not only allows gamers to use motion controls and voice commands, but also immerses them in environments away from their living rooms.
The Kinect Lives On
Fans of the Kinect, however, will not miss it because the core sensor developed for the Xbox accessory will still be in use. The Kinect will power the HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset which Kipman also created.
The technology behind Kinect has also found applications beyond gaming, including in the fields of medicine, movie production, and 3D mapping.
"Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners and Kinect innovations live on in Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Holographic and future technologies," a spokesperson for Microsoft said.
Gamers who still love their Kinect should be happy to know that the technology behind the device has enabled even greater capabilities for Microsoft and other developers. Maybe it's time to fire up Dance Central again, for old time's sake.