First dead in our hearts, and now dead at the manufacturing plant, the Kinect is no longer in production. Microsoft’s experimental motion detecting camera, which first launched in November, 2010, will die off once existing retail stock is sold, Microsoft told the website Fast Co. in an interview.
The Kinect, a full-body motion sensor that would allow users to control games and applications by moving their appendages, first launched as an add-on for the Xbox 360. It was successful in its first few years, selling 1 million units in its first ten days and helping drive popular games like Dance Central, Fruit Ninja, and others. Anticipating voice command technology like Siri, the Kinect could also process spoken commands like “Xbox, go to settings” and offered basic camera functionality for video chatting.
In November 2013, as part of a bundle with the Xbox One, Microsoft launched a second, more-improved iteration of the Kinect. Although many Xbox One players enjoyed using voice commands and other functionality, the Kinect proved to be an albatross for Microsoft’s console, forcing the tech company to sell Xbox Ones at $500, a hundred dollars more than its biggest competitor, the PlayStation 4. In 2014, Microsoft cut bait, removing the Kinect from Xbox Ones and slashing the console’s price to $400. It had become clear by that time that the Kinect—or at least its use in gaming—was a phase.
In the following years, the number of Kinect games dwindled. While in the past Microsoft had asked publishers like EA to include Kinect functionality in Xbox versions of their games—Mass Effect 3, for example, would let you bark commands to squad members out loud—that trend didn’t last long.
Now, it’s hard to remember the last Kinect game we played. The Xbox One functions as a traditional, old-school gaming console plus high-end media service. The Kinect technology, for its part, lives on in Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant, along with the tantalizing but inaccessible Hololens and other Microsoft products that live far away from the world of video games.