Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensor is officially no more: the console manufacturer ceased making Kinects in November 2017, and now it has stopped making the Kinect Adapter – which is essential for Kinects to work with modern variants of the Xbox One.
The Kinect represented Microsoft’s bid to bring Wii-style intuitive motion-sensing gameplay to its consoles and, while it contained some interesting technology (originally developed in Israel and intended for missile-guidance systems), it never really captured the public imagination. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the predominantly hardcore Xbox audience.
The original Kinect, released in 2010 for the Xbox 360, broadened that console’s portfolio of games but suffered from a particular problem outside the US: you had to be so far away from the Kinect for it to work properly that British front rooms (unlike their giant American counterparts) proved too small. You could even buy after-market lenses for it that helped it work in closer proximity.
Microsoft persisted with the Kinect for the Xbox One, although unlike with the Xbox 360, it never tried to force Xbox One buyers to also purchase a Kinect. But neither the Xbox One S nor Xbox One X came with the proprietary connector built in, so for a Kinect to work with those, you must buy a Kinect Adapter. Now that Microsoft has stopped making that, the Kinect Adapter’s price has skyrocketed.
Perhaps Sea of Thieves, Microsoft’s highly anticipated multiplayer pirate-romp due out on 20 March, could serve as a sort of epitaph for the Kinect. Its developer, the legendary Rare Software which Microsoft bought in 2002, spent years making Kinect games which made little impression, but Sea of Thieves represents the company’s return to making triple-A, original games.