It finally happened. Microsoft has fully ended production of Kinect hardware. And no, you didn’t stumble upon an article from 2014. Yes, it’s 2023 and Microsoft, in case you didn’t know, has been still trying to make Kinect work, just not in the gaming space. Well, today Microsoft has thrown in the towel.
A sophisticated motion sensing camera, Kinect first premiered on the Xbox 360 in 2010. While the tech was rather neat, Kinect arguably struggled to appeal to many gamers and gained a reputation for necessitating various shovelware games such as Fable: The Journey. In 2013, Microsoft revealed that the Kinect would ship with each Xbox One. While the new Kinect unit was technically impressive, it once again failed to gain a foothold with, well, just about anyone. Microsoft later stopped bundling the Kinect with Xbox One, and the device moved on to Microsoft’s mixed reality and enterprise solutions. Keeping the Kinect name, Microsoft offered the Azure Kinect Developer Kit in 2019 to those looking to implement its depth-sensing technology in various business environments. And today, that chapter of the Kinect’s life comes to a close.
“As the needs of our customers and partners evolve, we regularly update our products to best support them,” a Microsoft blog announcing the death of the Azure Kinect Developer Kit opens.
But while Azure Kinect Developer Kit has now ended production, the tech seems like it will continue to live on. Microsoft shouted out Orbbec’s new Femto Bolt, a device very similar to the Azure Kinect DK, as providing the hardware necessary for those still interested in working with 3D depth camera technology. Via a dedicated software pipeline, developers will be able to use Azure Kinect DK software on the Femto Bolt. Meanwhile, Microsoft states that it plans to continue providing the necessary software tools to work with Azure Kinect DKs still out there in the wild.