Kinect for Windows pre-orders now open
Improved sensor will retail for $199, officially launches July 15
Hackers of the world rejoice - Microsoft has opened pre-orders for a new version of the Kinect sensor for Windows, ahead of its launch on July 15.
Kinect for Windows v2 is priced at $199/£159, and will feature the same broadly improved capabilities as the Kinect that shipped with the Xbox One. Microsoft's target market is app developers, so the device will not ship with any software, and a separate license is required for the SDK 2.0. Developers will be able to build apps in C++, C#, or Visual Studio Basic.
You would be forgiven a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders at the release of a new Kinect device, particularly if your main interest is gaming. In May, Microsoft backtracked on its initial strategy to make the Kinect a compulsory feature of the Xbox One, a move that was widely interpreted as the beginning of the end for the device.
But the truth is that while game developers have struggled to make compelling games for both versions of the Kinect, the first version of the device was put to fascinating use in a variety of fields - from interactive art installations to surgeon training to interpreting sign language.
Whatever its future as a device for gaming, the new version of Kinect is a vast improvement over its predecessor in almost every respect. That opens up a wide spectrum of possibilities for Windows developers, not least those interested in creating experiences for nascent VR platforms like the Oculus Rift.