Kinect 2.0 picks up deeper UWP integration and Windows Hello support on PC thanks to new drivers

Microsoft detailed plans to bring deeper integration between Kinect and UWP back in May 2016, but the company has now issued a driver update that enables new developer features that arrived through this past summer's Anniversary Update.

As detailed on this blog post (via WinBuzzer), Kinect can now act as a regular RGB webcam for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps both on Xbox and Windows 10 with the same code.

Additionally, while Kinect has the capabilities, enabling it as a camera for Windows Hello required a bunch of registry hacks to get it running. This new driver update streamlines the process, allowing it to be used as a regular camera source to support Windows Hello's biometric authentication.

The update introduces new APIs for skeletal tracking, depth perception and more for UWP Windows Store apps and games, and all of the new features align with Xbox One too, since the summer update.

"Finally, we should note that the Xbox summer update also enables these Kinect features through Windows.Media.Capture.Frames for UWP apps. Thus, apps that use the Kinect sensor's RGB, infrared, and/or depth cameras will run on Xbox with same code, and Xbox can also use the Kinect RGB camera as a normal webcam for Skype-like scenarios."

While Microsoft Studios themselves haven't been putting much effort behind Kinect games, the fact Microsoft are bothering to integrate the tech into UWP for both Xbox One and Windows shows the company still believes in its capabilities. Will that belief extend to new Kinect hardware in the future? We can only hope.

You can force the driver update by going through the Device Manager. Otherwise, the new driver will arrive via Windows Update at some point in the future.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!