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News: Microsoft Dis-Kinects
Gaming Editor Roshni Patel briefs us on the discontinuation of the indecisive Kinect
Once heralded the future of gaming, the Microsoft Kinect, released in 2010 for the Xbox 360, with the hopes that it too would bring the same family popularity as the Nintendo Wii and more. But after a slew of forgettable games, controversies, and price hikes, Microsoft are finally pulling the plug on the dying peripheral.
While Microsoft had hoped the addition of the Kinect peripheral would allow developers to create more exciting game play, that drew players off the sofa like the Wii often did. Many developers were so geared to creating great games for controllers, that even when larger franchises did try to include Kinect support, they were often overlooked and underused; for instance, Battlefield 4 allowed users to peek around cover or shout for basic chat responses, but after a low adoption from players, the feature was quickly cut from the next game. However, there were some games that memorably worked better with the Kinect, namely Just Dance and Dance Revolution, where players no longer had to worry about having enough controllers and everyone could get up and involved. Another popular Xbox 360 game, Kinect Adventure, even sold more copies than GTA V on the Xbox 360.
Despite having a handful of games that worked well on the Kinect, the peripheral could be used for more than games, with the Xbox Live platform allowing users to make Skype calls, record videos, stream to Twitch, to be spied on by the government, and for advertising purposes. While the latter was quickly refuted by Microsoft as a misconstrued comment, the former certainly was a possibility, especially as the advanced voice recognition and ‘always-on’ feature of the Kinect raised a lot of privacy concerns.
Another killer of the Kinect was the price. Due to the inclusion of the Kinect, the Xbox One bundles were always much more expensive than the PS4 console alone. As a result of the decreased bundle sales, future iterations of the Xbox One no longer came with the Kinect, or even the dedicated port for the peripheral, furthering the decline of the Kinect.
Though manufacture and developer support for the Kinect has stopped, the technology has not been lost, with the depth technology integrated into the new Hololens. Nor has the mode of play, with Microsoft opting to support smartphones for motion controllers, allowing us to continue playing Just Dance and similarly cheesy motion games on the Xbox One.