After years of troubled engagement since its unveiling back in 2011, it appears Microsoft's ill-fated Kinect sensor is finally being put to bed. As reported by Co.Design (via The Verge), Microsoft has ended production of the sensor, leaving retailers to sell what remains of stock going forward. The company has reaffirmed that Kinect will still be supported for now, but don't expect any new features going forward.
This move comes as little of a surprise, following the dwindling success of the Kinect sensor across its lifetime. While its initial launch on Xbox 360 crowned it one of the fastest-selling devices in all time, beyond the initial boom, the camera and microphone accessory struggled to gain traction.
With growing interesting motion controls last decade, Microsoft's Kinect offered an appealing premise to consumers – players would be the controller. Capitalizing on the success of Nintendo's Wii console in the home, Kinect's depth camera offered unrivaled tracking for consoles at the time. However, without support from developers to push the accessory, its appeal in the living room diminished.
Microsoft later reworked the device for the Xbox One, including the sensor will all consoles shipped at launch. With large-scale pushback amid privacy concerns, Microsoft eventually sold the console standalone, in turn, lowering cost of Xbox One entry-level consoles. That move eventually led to the situation Kinect finds itself in today, as an accessory for only a subset of the Xbox One user base.
While it initially showed potential, Kinect's passing comes as little of a surprise but wasn't entirely a loss for Microsoft. The research from Kinect has influenced several of Microsoft's efforts encompassing augmented reality and virtual reality – most notably HoloLens and the Windows Mixed Reality platform.
Updated October 25, 2017: Speaking to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that production on Kinect sensors has ended. However, the company has highlighted that while the devices will no longer be produced, Kinect still has a place in the Xbox One ecosystem for existing customers.
Manufacturing for Kinect for Xbox One has ended but it is not the end of the journey for the technology. Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners and Kinect innovations live on in Xbox One, Windows 10, Cortana, Windows Mixed Reality and future technologies.