Microsoft sees Kinect as one of their biggest future businesses. The motion sensing and voice recognition device may have launched as an optional gaming peripheral for the Xbox 360 console a year ago but it has expanded to include support for Windows 7 PCs. This week's Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 added even more support for Kinect, including voice searching features via Bing.
Now Kotaku reports that Microsoft is requiring that all future Xbox 360 applications have at least some kind of support for the Kinect device. The specific requirement is that apps must be able to be navigated via Kinect's gesture and/or voice support. Microsoft is helping developers by providing SDK tools to help development teams index the search terms that will be needed for Kinect's voice recognition and gesture features.
It's a major move and one which likely signals how Microsoft will use Kinect in the future. The new requirement for the Kinect support will help developers get used to adding such features in their programs going forward. That will also help developers when they make apps for Microsoft's next version of the Xbox console, which will almost certainly have Kinect support built into the hardware. Kinect's voice recognition for search features will also likely expand to other Microsoft platforms including the PC.