The first-generation Kinect was released in 2010, and became the fastest selling consumer electronics device in its first two months on the market, selling over 8 million units. Now, after almost seven years - and 35 million unit sales - its production has finally come to an end.
In interviews with Co.Design, Alex Kipman, creator of the Kinect, and Matthew Lapsen, GM of Xbox Devices Marketing, revealed that the software giant has stopped production of the device. It will still be used as a significant sensor platform, however, in which the company will continue to invest. Kipman has regarded this demise with a dismal eye, indicating the ever-mounting trust issues over privacy between investors and consumers as a possible cause.
The downfall of Kinect could also be traced to a history of uncertainty within the gaming community, particularly regarding game support for the device. Breakthrough titles never really made their way over to the Kinect, and it seemed as if no major franchise was willing to develop big-budget games specially designed for it. As a possible solution, Microsoft considered bundling every Xbox One with a Kinect sensor, in an effort to make developers invest heavily into games with motion tracking support.
This move backfired; massive backlash from the gaming community due to the increased price for the console just because of the apparent inclusion of the motion tracking device led to the tech giant selling a non-Kinect version of Xbox One later. During this controversial period, Microsoft drastically reduced the chance of attracting major game developers, and in turn, diminished the possibility of a guaranteed line-up of games for Kinect users.
At the outset, it may seem as if Kinect didn't reach the heights as were made out before launch; the amount of research that went into improving the motion sensing device, however, is used by Microsoft in major projects elsewhere. A prime example of this is the HoloLens, which incorporates a ''next generation Kinect'', according to Kipman's description of the mixed reality smartglasses. Other technological advancements in the field of motion sensing were assisted by Kinect as well.
Microsoft is aiming to continue its research in motion sensing technology, virtually ensuring improvements in the Kinect sensor, at least for the foreseeable future.
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