The newest iteration of the Kinect for Windows has been canned. Why? Well, Microsoft developed a method that enables software developers, designers, and enthusiasts to get their hands on the Xbox One edition of the Kinect. So, instead of having two different iterations, they now only have one.
The MSDN blog has an explanation about why Microsoft is consolidating the two versions of Kinect. Quite naturally, most PC users are probably asking “Wait, how are we going to use the Xbox One Kinect on PC?”
...with an adapter.
As mentioned on the blog by Michael Fry, the senior tech “evangelist” for Kinect...
The Kinect Adapter enables you to connect a Kinect for Xbox One sensor to Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets in the same way as you would a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. And because both Kinect for Xbox One and Kinect for Windows v2 sensors are functionally identical, our Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 works exactly the same with either.
With that said, they've opted to discontinue the Kinect for Windows.
Microsoft also said that they will continue to support for the Windows version of Kinect through software updates and technical support. However, if you're working on the PC platform and plan to use Kinect for development, gaming, or motion capturing purposes, you'll need to get the Xbox One version of the device and acquire an adapter to use on the PC.
Kinect 2.0 has received a lot of grief since its original announcement back in 2013 over the controversial data recording, facial recognition, and worries over corporate spying and consumer data acquisition.
Last summer, Microsoft announced that the Kinect 2.0 would be coming to Windows. This enabled developers and software engineers who weren't making exclusive Xbox software to make use of the high-end camera device.
After the slow uptick in sales following the release of the Xbox One in 2013, Microsoft opted to remove the Kinect 2.0 from the bundle in early 2014. This actually helped the Xbox One's sales. However, the console still had some steep hills to climb.
At this point, the Xbox One is starting to fare better. The Kinect, however, has faded mostly from view.
The camera device isn't all bust, though. The Kinect is actually pretty good as a motion-capture device. It's a cost effective measure that some developers use for their games. It's also tied into middleware software platforms such as iPi Soft, so developers can easily implement 3D motion capture into their games without requiring an actual studio.
Developers can get their hands on Kinect 2.0 right now for PC by getting the Xbox One version and purchasing the adapter for use with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. You can learn more by visiting the official website. Kinect is available for $149.99.