Microsoft stopped producing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor today after phasing out the original sensor not long ago. The company emphasized, however, that this does not mean it will stop supporting developers who want to build Windows apps that use the device.
In November, Microsoft began offering a standalone version of Kinect for Xbox One for $150. In October, when Microsoft released its Kinect SDK 2.0 and started accepting Kinect apps in the Windows Store, the company also launched the Kinect Adapter for Windows for $50. Going forward, you’ll have to purchase both of these to build Windows apps that make use of Microsoft’s Kinect.
The adapter lets you use the Kinect for Xbox One with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 computers and tablets via a USB 3.0 port. If you purchase that sensor along with the adapter, the final price ($50 + $150) is the same as if you bought the $200 Kinect for Windows v2 sensor.
Microsoft says it is “making an effort to simplify and create consistency for developers.” Yet in a previous announcement, Microsoft said that with the adapter, “all Kinect v2 sensors—Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One — perform identically.” So why is Microsoft phasing out Kinect for Windows v2?
The company hints that it comes down to supply and demand:
Over the past several months, we have seen unprecedented demand from the developer community for Kinect for Windows sensors and have experienced difficulty keeping up with requests in some markets. At the same time, we have seen the developer community respond positively to being able to use the Kinect for Xbox One sensor for Kinect for Windows app development, and we are happy to report that Kinect for Xbox One sensors and Kinect Adapter for Windows units are now readily available in most markets.
In other words, it is likely cheaper and easier for Microsoft to just produce the Kinect for Xbox One plus the Windows adapter. For those who purchased the discontinued Kinect, Microsoft says it wants “to assure developers who are currently using it that our support for the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor remains unchanged and that they can continue to use their sensor.”
That’s a promise Microsoft would be foolish to break.