In 2013, Microsoft chose to price the Xbox One at $500, a full $100 more than its main competitor, the PlayStation 4. The price difference was due to the inclusion of the Kinect camera, a sensor capable of enhancing games with motion and voice recognition. But support for Kinect has fizzled in recent years and Microsoft has chosen to discontinue the camera entirely.
Microsoft first broke the news in an interview with FastCo Design, admitting that concerns about user privacy may have been a factor in Kinect’s failure to catch on this generation — the first version of the peripheral was released for Xbox 360.
“Trust is something you earn in drops and lose in buckets,” Kinect creator Alex Kipman said in the interview. “I’d say Kinect started the process in 2010 in having to earn drops of trust. Any number of events in the world — each one — you lose a bucket.”
Before the Xbox One had even gone on sale, it encountered its share of controversy because of the Kinect’s “always listening” function for quickly powering up the system. Users were concerned the camera would be able to listen in on their conversations, though settings could be changed to limit the amount of data being shared.
Early games for the Xbox One, including several third-party titles, made great use of the sensor. Battlefield 4 allowed players to shout out voice commands instead of having to open their communication wheel with a controller, and Dead Rising 3 even made players physically shake to avoid getting eaten by zombies. Dance Central Spotlight also brought Harmonix’ popular music game to the platform, but it failed to make the same splash as the series’ earlier games on Xbox 360.
Though the peripheral is being discontinued for sale, it will actually still find a use in other projects Microsoft has in the works, including mixed reality.
In a statement to Digital Trends, a Microsoft spokesperson said,”Kinect innovations live on in Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Mixed Reality, and future technologies.”
If you want to get your hands on Kinect before it’s gone for good, you can currently purchase one for $50. However, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X both require the use of a special adapter in order to use Kinect, which will set you back another $40.
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