This year, the original Kinect will turn four years old- that’s centuries in time as it’s measured in the tech world. The original Kinect, when it was released for the Xbox 360 (and later, PCs running Windows), had a lot of pizzaz, and certainly had the novelty factor, but it was a flawed attempt to begin with; flaws that were subsequently addressed with the new Kinect that was released alongside the Xbox One (and also released for Windows PCs last year).
With a much superior product being available on the market, Microsoft, at least, sees there to be no reason for the original Kinect for Windows (which was based on the Xbox 360 model) to continue, and they have revealed plans to discontinue sales of the device this year.
“The move to v2 marks the next stage in our journey toward more natural human computing,” a member of the Windows team explained in a blog post.
“Likewise, SDK 2.0 offers scores of updates and enhancements, not the least of which is the ability to create and publish Kinect-enabled apps in the Windows Store. At the same time that we publicly released the v2 sensor and its SDK, we also announced the availability of the Kinect Adapter for Windows, which lets developers create Kinect for Windows applications by using a Kinect for Xbox One sensor. The response of the developer community to Kinect v2 has been tremendous: every day, we see amazing apps built on the capabilities of the new sensor and SDK, and since we released the public beta of SDK 2.0 in July, the community has been telling us that porting their original solutions over to v2 is smoother and faster than expected.”
It makes sense- as long as the original Kinect, with all of its considerable flaws, remains the least common denominator that developers aim for, Kinect development won’t go anywhere. This is a necessary, although bittersweet, step.