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Microsoft Opts to Discontinue Production of Kinect

It’s a mixed parting of ways with Microsoft’s Kinect


It’s been almost seven years since the first version of the Kinect was released. And now it’s time to say goodbye to Microsoft’s troubled system.

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In a recent interview with Co.Design, Kinect creator Alex Kipman confirmed that production of the device is being halted. Whatever is left on the shelves will be all that remains.

Since the start of its development in 2010, the Kinect has had a troubled history. Though around 35 million units have been sold, the system has never been consistently popular. None of its titles are very well-known with gamers, its greatest failure its inability to secure any true triple-A titles. The Xbox had Call-of-Duty and Destiny, but the Kinect did not.

Historically, it would seem to be proven that gamers care more about gameplay than they do an innovative concept. Even bundled with the Xbox One, the Kinect couldn’t convince consumers that it was worth their time. Beyond cost, it’s the greatest issue facing motion-sensing and virtual reality systems today. Gamers like their controllers, which are comfortable and familiar, and until a system comes along that can provide something just as adept and accessible, things aren’t likely to change.

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Where the system has truly succeeded is in the development industry. Golan Levin, director of the Studio for Creative Inquiry at CMU, and featured in the Co.Design article, claimed that the Kinect has made “thousands of applications” possible. His lab has been responsible for a number of these, from art applications to UI prototypes. Its hardware is crucial to many face recognition and motion-sensing applications today, including finding a place in the iPhone X.

Regardless of the system’s discontinuation, its influence will continue to be seen and felt in the tech world. Kinect research directly translates into Microsoft’s new Hololens even, which will seek to push the boundaries of virtual reality. The system may yet go down in history as a pioneer of the next great tech advancement.

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