Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Microsoft outdoes itself by ruining potentially vast Kinect market with sheer lack of vision

10th January, 2012

You may have read that Kinect for Windows will be arriving on 1st Feb. This device is the only one to be supported on the commercial full version of the Kinect for Windows SDK.

Many have said this is a good thing, and in some ways they may be right. However I think Microsoft have missed a serious trick with this.

By denying developers the ability to make commercial applications for Windows that use the Xbox 360 version of the device (which will be stuck on the beta - and noncommercial - SDK until 2016 when it is deprecated and they become useless) they have basically immediately limited the market for Kinect commercial apps from the potential 18 million+ that have already been sold, to the mere hundreds in comparison that they may or may not sell in the Kinect for Windows plan.

Microsoft say this is because the Xbox 360 version was not designed for PC use. Why the beta SDK then? What exactly are the hardware differences (other than a different label on them)?

I can see this being something to do with licensing or similar. Nonetheless, Microsoft will need to take action to either explicitly say exactly why this has happened or reverse the situation if developers are ever going to take them at their word that they are serious about Kinect outside the Xbox 360.