Microsoft is set to release a new webcams next year that will work with the Xbox One, according to new rumors.
The Redmond company hasn't released a new webcam in years, so suppose the rumor is true, it'll mark Microsoft's return to the webcam market. Several 4K-capable units are planned, apparently, and at least one of them would work with both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One.
It might not sound too big of a deal, especially since so many webcams are available in the market currently, and many of them, particularly a few in Logitech's lineup, offer high resolutions at modest prices.
However, Microsoft's forthcoming webcams are poised to work natively with Widows Hello, the company's facial recognition system. If so, it'll mark the first time Microsoft has added this capability on a standalone camera. To date, Microsoft has only added Windows Hello capability to cameras already built into its Surface PCs.
The Webcams Will Borrow A Feature From Kinect
Apart from offering Windows Hello capability, the webcams will also apparently bring back a feature from Kinect that let users automatically sign in by moving in front of the camera. This would work with multiple accounts and family members.
Microsoft officially shut down Kinect last year, its motion-based gaming camera system that was launched to combat the Nintendo Wii, which had originally popularized motion controls. Kinect differed from the Wii in that it had no peripherals required, just that a camera be mounted at some considerable distance to capture the players' motion. It didn't become popular as Microsoft hoped for it to be, however. They were some notable games for the platform released during its last time, to be fair, but not enough to keep it from languishing entirely.
As such, a Kinect feature returning in the form of a webcam will definitely be a boon for users' who've gotten used to logging into their Xbox just by moving.
As everything mentioned above are mere rumors, it's important to take them with a grain of salt. However, there is some credence that make them likely true. This past October, for example, Microsoft's Surface chief, Panos Panay, hinted that the company might release Surface-branded webcams, as The Verge reports.
"[T]he idea that we can bring a high fidelity camera to an experience, you can probably guess that's going to happen," said Panay.
Details such as pricing and release date are unavailable at the moment.