In an exclusive interview on Co.Design, Alex Kipman, the creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, the General Manager of Xbox Devices Marketing, detail the hopes and expectations of the device, but also reveal that manufacturing of it has ceased. They also go into the context that eventually drove Microsoft towards de-emphasizing the camera.
“When we introduced Xbox One, we designed it to have the best experience with the Kinect. That was our goal with the Xbox One launch,” says Lapsen. “And like all product launches, you monitor that over time, you learn and adjust.”While the Kinect may have been technologically valuable to the progressing development of gaming through motion, it wasn't a particularly popular peripheral in recent years. It was initially met with anticipation when first launched for the Xbox 360, and sold quite well despite not have the advantage of being directly bundled with the majority of units. However, for the current generation and leading into it, it fell out of favor with Xbox owners and didn't take long before it was unbundled from the Xbox One, which was what forced the Kinect to have to sell on its own two feet as an addon. Thus, as a standalone addition to the console's gaming experience, its buy rate began to plummet.
What's more, is that the Xbox One S and Xbox One X both lack a Kinect port to begin with. For a period, the S had an adapter to allow Kinect connectivity, which was available for free, but that offer has since passed, and it's been stated that the Xbox One X won't receive the same offer as well. In a world where virtual reality is new, exciting, and actually viable technology, the Kinect couldn't offer the same amount of immersion and tangibility. However, the Kinect's unique engineering was able to pave the way for other applications to adopt its tech.
But Levin, and other researchers like him, adored the Kinect for its forward-looking technologies. “The important thing about Kinect is it showed you could have an inexpensive depth camera. And it supported the development of thousands of applications that used depth sensing,” Levin says. He points out that it was literally Microsoft Kinect hardware that made it possible for a startup like Faceshift to exist.To read the entire article and interview, head over to Co.Design.
Did you own a Kinect? What did you think of it? How do you feel about its discontinuation? Is it premature, or maybe even late? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.