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The Xbox Kinect was one of the most revolutionary devices for its time. It allowed gamers to interact with their games in entirely new ways by using their bodies and area around them. But there’s been a long debate about whether the device has died or not. Today, Microsoft has finally admitted that the device is now dead. This also means that Microsoft is ending the production of Kinect. Fast Co Design has reported that the camera and microphone accessory sold roughly 35 million units since its release in 2010. It launched as an accessory for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and even became one of the quickest-selling devices in 2011 and even received recognition from Guinness World Records.
But this has since changed even for the Xbox community. The device became a bit more mainstream with Xbox One, forcing consumers to purchase a device bundled with it, and even having made it a mandatory peripheral for those looking to game on Xbox One. Unfortunately, pricing, features, and a lack of a supportive library lead to the devices current state. Due to the device failing to live up to expectations of both consumers and Microsoft, the Xbox One eventually saw itself become Kinect-less. Bundles would be sold without it, which drove sales for the Xbox One due to lowered costs. The trouble for Xbox One at launch wasn’t just its library of games, but its cost. With Sony selling their smash-hit PlayStation 4 consoles $100 USD cheaper, it was truly a problem for Microsoft, and the costs of the launch bundle Xbox Ones couldn’t be cut due to the mandatory bundles. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this approach hurt their day-one sales, but as did it being mandatory for the console to function.
Unlike Sony, Microsoft would see sales struggle at launch. Sony themselves didn’t even adopt a mandatory PlayStation Camera for the PlayStation 4, but rather, the company sold theirs as an optional accessory. Within a few months post-launch, Microsoft worked hard in to remove the requirement of it being a mandatory Xbox One device, a change which was well-received by fans. While this decision did help Microsoft, it already seemed too late for Kinect. It didn’t have solid games, it didn’t have a dedicated userbase, and even its always-on sensor and microphones were still problematic. The backlash was still apparent and Microsoft had to soon implement a workaround in order for users to completely shut down the Xbox One. Even with these changes, it wasn’t enough to save the attachment.
The Kinect saw even more broken promises arise over time. It failed to deliver an experience as it did with the Xbox 360, even its games failed to fulfill this promise. With Kinect titles published by Microsoft games such as Kinect Sports Rivals, Fantasia: Music Evolved, and Zoo Tycoon would fail to bring the device back to life and drive its sales. The struggle was ultimately highlighted by the consoles lack of support of Xbox 360 games – at the time – the Kinect would struggle a bit more, driving fans that did love it, away from using the new and more enhanced version. For Xbox One S adopters, the Kinect is a troublesome attachment due to their opposing coloring schemes. Even with the news, it doesn’t mean that Kinect is a bad device. It’s just a device that didn’t get the support it needed from both Microsoft and the Xbox One fanbase.
Thanks to Microsoft’s approach to mixed reality and VR support; fans could very well see Microsoft bring games to life in unforeseen ways. The upcoming HoloLens isn’t just a mixed reality headset. It uses many of the Kinect’s useful technologies ranging from its depth-sensing technologies, high definition motion sensing, and facial recognition features. While HoloLens is still yet to release, it may be safe to assume that the HoloLens may just be the Kinect replacement that Xbox One owners need post-release for the Xbox One X.