Official Kinect dev kit comes to Windows on February 1st


first_imgThe popularity of Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller has surprised pretty much everyone. It has managed to sell 18 million units in the 13 months it has been on sale, plus it has been popular with hackers eager to see what they can get it to do away from the Xbox 360.Microsoft responded to that inquisitive bunch by releasing a Kinect for Windows development kit last June. It was free to download and use, and a temporary solution while an official, and commercial game development-friendly version was developed.Yesterday, Microsoft made the official announcement that Kinect for Windows is ready to go and will be released on February 1st. It will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and of course the US. The launch of Kinect for Windows comes with both good and bad news. The bad is the fact it will cost $250 and isn’t compatible with the Xbox 360 version of Kinect. So you can’t just buy the development kit and use it with your existing motion sensor, or vice-versa, your development Kinect can’t be used to play 360 motion games. The good news is Microsoft will be offering academic pricing ($149) for students and education establishments that want to use the kit. Microsoft’s argument for the high price and lack of compatibility between the two versions is two-fold. Apparently Kinect on 360 only works financially as it relies on consumers buying the Kinect games too. Kinect for Windows is also including more functionality so as to create “a platform that is optimized for scenarios beyond the living room.”The additional features Microsoft is pushing as part of the kit include support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Embedded systems. There’s also a new dongle included in the kit to ensure Kinect works alongside other USB peripherals you may have attached to your machine. The one new feature everyone will welcome is called “Near Mode” and allows the Kinect to see objects as close as 50cm perfectly, and 40cm with degradation. If nothing else, Near Mode should open up the Kinect to new uses not possible on the 360.If you are happy using the Xbox Kinect and beta SDK you can continue doing so. Microsoft has even extended the license for existing non-commercial deployments using the beta SDK by 3 years, however new deployments won’t be allowed with the 360 kit using the new SDK.Read more at the Kinect for Windows Bloglast_img

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