CES 2012: Microsoft Announces Kinect For Windows


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Kinect is finally making the official move from Xbox 360 to Windows-based PCs.

Last night at Microsoft’s final CES keynote, they announced that the Kinect hardware would be coming to Windows-based PCs on February 1 in 12 countries.

The Kinect for Windows bundle will sell for $249 and contain the Kinect hardware and accompanying development software. The price also includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking and continued Kinect for Windows software enhancements.

For those who find the $249 price a bit steep, and it really is a bit steep, Microsoft will be offering the device for $149 to qualified educational users.

Microsoft does explain through their blog that the reason Kinect for Windows costs more is that Kinect for Xbox 360 is supported through the sale of Kinect games, Xbox Live subscriptions and Xbox Live software sales. This all, of course, makes perfect sense as game consoles are able to be sold at a lower price point for the same reason.

The company also stated in their blog that Kinect for Windows will be a hardware-only business model. This means that the SDK and runtime will be provided free of charge to all developers.

In a move that encourages developers to buy the new hardware, Microsoft has stated that those who wish to release their non-commercial creations must do so with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software. Software that was released using the beta SDK on Kinect for Xbox 360 will still be allowed with Microsoft extending the beta license to June 16, 2016.

In a keynote that was pretty lackluster and showing Microsoft’s apathy for CES, the Kinect for Windows announcement was pretty exciting. While we all knew it was coming to Windows eventually, I didn’t expect to see it this soon. Kinect is a pretty amazing piece of hardware and it will be interesting to see where developers take it on a more open platform.