Kinect, the motion-sensing wonder device for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, has had many deaths before, but today seems to bring the last spadeful of dirt on its grave. Microsoft has confirmed it is no longer manufacturing Kinect and none will be sold once retailers run out.
Fast Company reported the demise of the motion-sensing device, introduced in 2010 for Xbox 360 and reformulated for the Xbox One’s launch three years later. Kinect support will continue for those who own one of the two sensors, “but ongoing developer tools remain unclear,” says Fast Company, in an interview with Kinect’s creator, Alex Kipman, and Matthew Lapsen, the general manager of marketing for Xbox Devices.
Kinect had been de-emphasized over the past three years, beginning with Microsoft’s decision in May 2014 to unbundle the device from the Xbox One hardware package. Future iterations of the console, beginning with the the Xbox One S launched in 2015 and the Xbox One X on the way in November, do not have the dedicated port for the device. That’s solved with a $50 adapter, if a user cares to get one, but Kinect’s relevance has decreased precipitously over the past two years.
Kinect was introduced as “Project Natal” at E3 2009 and debuted at E3 2010 under its brand name with a splashy marketing campaign. The device formally launched the following October. Microsoft touts 35 million Kinect devices sold over the product series’ lifetime, according to Fast Company.
Microsoft’s original vision for the Xbox One involved Kinect in numerous ways users simply didn’t care for. It also didn’t help when Ad Age, a trade publication for the advertising industry, reported comments from a senior Microsoft executive boasting about the device’s ability to gather user data and serve them targeted ads. Microsoft immediately walked back those comments and said the remarks had been taken out of context. At launch, some third-party Kinect mounting kits included plastic sleeves that would cover the sensor’s camera, to defeat any presumed spying on users.
In May 2014, Microsoft announced that Kinect would no longer be a part of the Xbox One package, dropping its price by $100 as a result. Sales of the console, which had lagged (and continue to lag) behind the PlayStation 4 launching at the same time in 2013, saw a boost in the month following. Kinect’s absence was credited with giving developers some extra processing power. By E3 2015, Microsoft was no longer talking about Kinect.
Update: A Microsoft representative gave this statement in response to the news.
Manufacturing for Kinect for Xbox One has ended but it is not the end of the journey for the technology. Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners and Kinect innovations live on in Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Mixed Reality and future technologies.