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posted by martyb on Thursday October 26 2017, @09:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the pining-for-the-fjords dept.

Microsoft kills off Kinect, stops manufacturing it

Microsoft is finally admitting Kinect is truly dead. After years of debate over whether Kinect is truly dead or not, the software giant has now stopped manufacturing the accessory. Fast Co Design reports that the depth camera and microphone accessory has sold around 35 million units since its debut in November, 2010. Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 even became the fastest-selling consumer device back in 2011, winning recognition from Guinness World Records at the time.

In the years since its debut on Xbox 360, a community built up around Microsoft's Kinect. It was popular among hackers looking to create experiences that tracked body movement and sensed depth. Microsoft even tried to bring Kinect even more mainstream with the Xbox One, but the pricing and features failed to live up to expectations. Microsoft was then forced to unbundle Kinect from Xbox One, and produced an unsightly accessory to attach the Kinect to the Xbox One S. After early promise, Kinect picked up a bad name for itself.

Kinect technology lives on in products such as HoloLens, Windows Hello cameras, and "Mixed Reality" headsets.

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday October 26 2017, @12:50PM (7 children)

    by VLM (445) on Thursday October 26 2017, @12:50PM (#587777)

    I guess thats the end of sports and dance games. A pity. Consoles are for FPS with a side dish of platformers and nothing else.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SunTzuWarmaster on Thursday October 26 2017, @01:26PM (5 children)

      by SunTzuWarmaster (3971) on Thursday October 26 2017, @01:26PM (#587789)
      VLM, ordinarily I agree with you, but in this instance I think that a game category was created. Even now you can play TV-synch'd games like "Just Dance" with a smartphone and a Chromecast. The Kinect further created a category for sensor-embedded imitators (PS Move, full motion PS controller, Wii Yoga board). Further, the technology is still embedded into many, many robotic applications. Just because they aren't making the "Kinect" doesn't mean that the "jump at the right time" games are going to go away.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:32PM (2 children)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:32PM (#587822) Homepage

        I use one(v2) for work, and considering it's 250 bucks on ebay it's pretty goddamn awesome for what it is, here at Boston Dynamics we use it for rapid-prototyping and eventually fine-tune algorithms for use with stereocameras and other things. The V2 also has a snazzy phased microphone array and libraries and dictionaries for speech recognition such that it can detect the beam angle (player) who is talking. You could develop a live 2-player version of Jeopardy or something.

        Programmatically detecting skeletons, depth, joints, and gestures is ridiculously piss-easy and the default unit of distance is actual meters rather than cryptic unprojected/unscaled XYZ stuff (though you can still use all that, there are a lot of projections and transformations available). It can even be used as a non-invasive heartbeat detector through clothing. The major downside is that it is impossible to get it to work without all the official Microsoft garbage requirements. Sure, there are examples to get it working with Python or Processing with most of its features crippled, but good luck actually getting them to work. I wasted weeks of effort before I gave up and went the C# route.

        What the wiser trend is to use mono or stereocameras with OpenCV, especially stereocameras because you can ascertain depth much more easily from a disparity map (and also with waaaaaaay less resolution than a Kinect V2). However, of course going the OpenCV route is more figuring shit out from scratch and reinventing the wheel because all the academics, art consultants, and robotics firms who spent all those blood, sweat, and tears getting their shit up and running aren't about to let freeloaders benefit from their hard work without paying the price. And of course having to deal with OpenCV's skeletal documentation and online examples is the usual retardation you see in the computer science world.

        " B-but taxpayer-funded research should be available to us! The source should be posted somewhere! I'm entitled to it! "

        Ha. Hahahahahaha. Ahhhhh-HAAAAAA--HAWWWWWW!

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by richtopia on Thursday October 26 2017, @03:44PM

          by richtopia (3160) on Thursday October 26 2017, @03:44PM (#587850) Homepage Journal

          I suspect this may be part of the problem. The hardware is pretty awesome for the price, and I suspect Microsoft was either selling at cost or a loss. For video games that makes sense, as games are supposed to be the primary revenue stream.

          I personally have fiddled with 3d scanning with the Kinect, although I was using the first generation and the resolution is clearly designed for human sized objects. For most items I want to 3d print they are hand held so the Kinect was not sufficient, but still a very cool tech demo.


        • (Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Friday October 27 2017, @03:29PM

          by Rivenaleem (3400) on Friday October 27 2017, @03:29PM (#588257)

          So this is how it happens. Anyone wondering why the robots rise up and murder us all finally have their answer. Ethanol-fueled works at Boston Dynamics.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:44PM

        by VLM (445) on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:44PM (#587830)

        Cautious agreement, although there are barrier to entry issues between "insert this dance disk in your brothers xbox360" vs all the fooling around to dance without a kinect.

        One interesting problem with dance games as a genre in the long term anyway, is I've seen my daughter and her friends dance while watching "lets play" youtube videos on the TV ... its a category that relies on grandma and auntie looking for christmas gifts because the kids think its just as much fun to watch the videos and the youtube UI is less of a hassle than the xbox UI. The testosterone fueled requirement of online competitive scoreboards to play gamer-style primate dominance games might be required for teen boys, but doesn't sell well to teen girls. So the problem is selling Grandma and Auntie on fifteen minutes of attaching the floozle to the encabulator to do it the "right" way none of which they can do by themselves vs "Oh forget it lets dance along to the lets play videos on youtube". The programmers think dance games fun comes from the feedback using expensive specialized now discontinued hardware that the girls are ironically uninterested in.

      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Saturday October 28 2017, @01:49PM

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 28 2017, @01:49PM (#588670)

        The Kinect further created a category for sensor-embedded imitators (PS Move, full motion PS controller, Wii Yoga board).

        Kinect released November 2010 []
        PS Move on sale September 2010 []
        Wii Balance Board on sale December 2007 []

        The category was there before the Kinect.

    • (Score: 1) by MindEscapes on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:28PM

      by MindEscapes (6751) on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:28PM (#587819) Homepage

      Nah, many spots games still are controller based. Does dent the dance games some though...I agree with that.

      FPS has become bread and butter for consoles though...and there are still RPGs being made too.

      Need a break? may be for you!
  • (Score: 2) by chewbacon on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:12PM (1 child)

    by chewbacon (1032) on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:12PM (#587808)

    Too expensive for too narrow of a scope of use. Then there was the privacy issues when they tried to force it on XBO. The technology, however will still generate revenue. I read a study about using Kinect to call for help when an independently living elderly person falls (passive lifealert, without the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”).

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday October 27 2017, @12:03AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday October 27 2017, @12:03AM (#588064) Homepage

      "Too narrow a scope of use" from the perspective from somebody with no imagination and who has never actually played with one programmatically. Yeah, you might have to put some effort into paying the Microsoft tax to learn it and code for it, but the possibilities are endless.

      Give me a kinect V2 and access to a code consultant and I will make fucking anything happen. Think Minority Report-style user interfaces and increase that by an order of magnitude.

      Now everybody's ditching that style of research for AR and VR. Fuck them, they're fucking morons. There's a lot less profundity and user-control in AR/VR and I predict that gimmick will soon die a slow-death. With the Kinect V2 and some coding skill, you are in control. With AR/VR as it is headed, they control you.