Microsoft Kills The Kinect - Another Nail
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018

If you need a lesson in how Microsoft, and to be fair other tech companies, can kill an important product, you need look no further than the drawn out death of the Kinect.


In October 2017 we reported that the Kinect was dead, but we had difficulty finding out anything definitive - no press release, no blog posts, just an off-hand comment in an "exclusive" interview that Alex Kipman, creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing, gave to Co.Design. However, there seemed to be no doubt as the Kinect was only available from third party sources which presumably had stock of the device.

There was no further comment until a blog post last month, Kinecting to a Post-Kinect World by Greg Duncan, an MVP. This was slightly embarrassing because it was clear that Greg didn't know anything much either, despite having run the Codeing4Fun blog and the Kinect Projects part of the blog. Greg had probably done more for the Kinect than anyone at Microsoft and yet he was left guessing and getting his info from third parties. He was also still supportive of the Kinect, writing:

"Should you dump your current Kinect projects?

No! Kinect for XBOX ONE is not going to end right away. Hardware does not just disappear. Even Kinect for XBOX 360 is still available, 4 years after it was replaced by Kinect v2 and 1 year after it was discontinued."

Loyal yes, but good advice no. Anyone building a Kinect into a project at this stage would have to be crazy as unfortunately there are no obvious plug-and-play replacements.

Since then Microsoft has confirmed that it has stopped producing the Kinect Adaptor which is needed to connect to the some Xboxes or to a PC. This means that even if you have got a Kinect you might not be able to use it. Stopping production of the adaptor is logical if you have stopped production of the Kinect, but notice that there were no official announcements or guidance on end of life matters.

The Kinect software site now does have an announcement of sorts:

Kinect for Windows

Manufacturing of the Kinect sensor and adapter has been discontinued, but the Kinect technology continues to live on in products like the HoloLens, Cortana voice assistant, the Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface.

Microsoft is working with Intel to provide an option for developers looking to transition from the Kinect for Windows platform. Microsoft will continue to provide support for the Kinect for Windows SDK via our online forums, premiere and paid technical support. As developers transition from Kinect hardware, Microsoft encourages developers to look into Intel’s RealSense depth cameras.

Anyone else find this less than helpful?


You can't really compare HoloLens etc with Kinect. The suggestion that Kinect users should move to Intel's RealSense also seems not the best advice when you keep in mind Intel's tendency to pull the plug on products in a manner that might be considered worse than Microsoft's. But yes, I agree, if RealSense looks stable and a good bet for the future then it is the last depth camera from a major manufacturer left standing.

As a result of the limbo state, the Kinect and the adaptor are fetching increasing prices on ebay and other reseller sites. If you have a Kinect project underway now might be a good time to abandon it and see how much you can get for the hardware before it's too late.


More Information

Kinect for Windows

Thanks for Kinect'ing!

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 January 2018 )