Today, Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows team announced that developers can pre-order the next-generation Kinect for Windows sensor from the Microsoft Store for $199 and receive it in July, “a few months ahead of general availability of sensors and the SDK.”
The sensor, which is the same one that’s come with every Xbox One sold so far, is available for pre-order in limited quantities in 22 regions, with prices varying by location. While the Microsoft store page is technically open to non-developers, it’s important to remember that the beta SDK is only going to be available in July. Consumers aren’t going to have access to software built for the new Kinect on Windows until later this year.
Mass consumer adoption of Kinect as a desktop peripheral seems like a bit of a fantasy at this point, so it’s good to see Microsoft’s pitch to developers taking a more plausible route. In one of its “scenario” videos, the company envisions the Kinect as a way to build a more engaging retail experience:
The release of Kinect for Windows coincides with a very public demotion of the peripheral on the Xbox One. Last month, Microsoft announced that on June 9 it will release a bundle without the Kinect for $399, a $100 discount off of the original price. Yesterday, the company also revealed that it would let Xbox One developers use fewer of the Kinect’s always-on voice and gesture capabilities in exchange for improved graphics performance in their games.