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.

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Latest comments (8)

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance3 years ago
Dead on arrival for a variety of reasons.

If there is a gaming market for this device on Windows, I fail to see it. Used to be, devices like this came coupled with a program that used them. You know, like the Nintendo light gun, the Super Scope 6... actually, pretty much every peripheral that came out prior to the last generation with Playstation Move and the first Kinect. This way, even if the device flopped, you had at least ONE program that you could use it for. (Show of hands, who used the Zapper for Duck Hunt on NES and NOTHING ELSE? But I bet that Duck Hunt cartridge still got a workout)

As my primary interest is gaming, I can't imagine why I would want a Kinect. And this price is probably too high anyway - being unbundled from Xbox One resulted in a $100 price drop, and you know the Kinects at Gamestop are going to be cheaper than $200.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Steve Wetz on 8th July 2014 1:43pm

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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments3 years ago
@Steve - as a gaming peripheral, the PC version is probably not going to make waves - but it has an obvious "tinkerer" niche, which keeps the (very impressive) tech in use, which circles round to a gaming benefit as it means it can still be around when someone comes up with a "killer app" game for it.

Suspect there is a lot of scope for pairing this with an OR dev kit...
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while I think it make sense for the Occulus, IIRC , the latency issues are a big big hurdle for the kinect to overcome or any device like this, in order to be used with the Occulus in any meaningful way.

But as some have said, its good that its now out so that the tinkering can begin. I also agree that this generation of kinect will likely not be a big seller especially for the PC.
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Matthew Hardy Studying Multimedia/Game Design, ITT Technical Institute3 years ago
Merely as a 3D motion/object capture, its worth every penny of $200.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
Imagination, filling the gaps is alleged proof of concepts since 5000 B.C.

Although I do know one company who made a software using the Kinect to create 3D scans of feet. Which are then used for custom fit and/or medical shoes.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
This kind of infuriates me on a few levels. Why the heck didn't Microsoft reach out to developers/artists/hackers during the development process, give them a Kinect and licenses (at a low cost, because it's a corporation, not a charity) and tell them to have fun with the best work not only being used to make the consumer version better, but add that version as the mandatory Kinect bundled with the best of those apps?

Thinking ahead like this would have meant more people would probably have been less skeptical of the device, it would have been less of a burden to describe what it did because you'd have a working presentation that SHOWED it in action and the unbundling thing on the One might have been not necessary at all because even the most hardcore gamer would have had a use for the thing.

Oh well. I guess whomever makes the latency issues vanish and gets 1:1 motion detecting every time will be seen as the champ when it happens.

@Klaus: was that foot scan thing really for medical shoes... or some professional's foot fetish? I'd bet a penny it's both (but that's fine if it's helping people in need) ;^)
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
Kinect 1.0 is being used all over VR applications, and the tech shows up constantly in a wide variety of robotics and medical devices. An application currently being worked on by a family member has Kinect. In your grandmother's hiuse, where it monitors video, audio, and yes the mostly forgotten skin responses for signs of conditioning. They can even make sure a patient is still breathing, no leads eired up

So there's huge application outside gameping for the devices.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
I was always under the impression that the 360 + Kinect was a water test to see how the consumer responded to device like Kinect to see how capable it would be to working with Win 8. The dawn of that operating system came and went and even with MS bigging up indies developers, as Greg pointed out, in a very forward thinking way for MS, they still didn't manage to turn it into anything than a way to navigate through the bit of Win8 that nobody uses.

I guess niche is good to an extent...
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