Microsoft reportedly planning 4K Windows Hello webcam for Windows 10, Xbox

MS logo
MS logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

As Surface chief Panos Panay continues to hint at new hardware opportunities for the brand's future, it sounds like Microsoft may already have at least one in the cards: a 4K webcam. According to a new report from Thurrott, Microsoft is planning a family of webcams, with the primary focus going towards a 4K camera with Windows Hello authentication on board.

What's more, the webcam is also said to be built to work with both Windows 10 and Xbox One.

For Windows 10 users, such a webcam would enable Windows Hello authentication for any PC, helping it to break from its current confines of laptops that happen to ship with a compatible IR camera on board. When connected to an Xbox One, the camera could also support automatic sign-ins, allowing gamers to log in by stepping in front of the camera. Other friends or family members will be able to join in on the action by doing the same, Thurrott reports.

According to the report, this new family of webcams will include one focused on enterprise users, as well.

This isn't the first indication we've heard in recent times that Microsoft may be toying with the idea of releasing a webcam. In an October interview, Panos Panay pointed towards the Surface Hub 2's USB-C webcam as something that could inspire a broader product push under the Surface brand.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

35 Comments
  • This would be great, been thinking about getting a Windows Hello-capable device for my desktop (still have a Kinect with my Xbox One X). Hope to hear more about this soon!
  • You don't have to wait: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_14?k=windows+hello+camer...
  • I had bad experience with Microsoft Cameras. One is Kinect which everyone knows when upgrade to X (assuming you skipped S, directly from original to X, you would potentially spend more money on the cable). Another is LifeCam HD 3000, which is not compatible with Win10 (I noticed that there are some walkaround now, they may work but at least at that time when I gave up there was no solution). I like the idea of 4k Windows Hello camera, but I'm just afraid that it may no longer (directly) work with next Xbox or one of future Win 10 upgrade just like what happened with Kinect and LifeCam HD 3000.
  • So... the you're doubtful based on an Xbox accessory that was discontinued and not sold with the X, it does still work with an adapter and the Lifecam HD 3000 that DOES actuallg work with Windows 10.
  • They no longer make the adapters and if you do happen to find one you'll pay an arm & a leg for it.
  • Your confusing the adapter with actual Kinect. The adapter is readily available. Kinect Adapter for Xbox One S Xbox One X and Windows PC https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GRXJ69H/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_tiMhCbM6GQ9CF?...
  • For awhile it was a gold rush where they became really expensive.
    But you can definitely find them for $50 now almost everywhere.
  • You can use the HD 3000. Just not it's on board software. Also don't have to use the firmware,drivers it's has built in support.
  • Are you complaining that you won't be able to afford it if they make one? I can't tell what point you're making. I can tell you, you don't need a 4k hello camera.
  • I'm still trying to figure out why they didn't put far field microphones into the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. I get dropping Kinect after it didn't really get used but the newer consoles should have at least had far field mics. Considering the cost of Echo Dot and Home Mini, it baffles me. I just use an off the shelf webcam for streaming. I could have even gone with some small blocky "Xbox Far-Field Mic" that plugged into the front of my Xbox One X. Personally don't care about Windows Hello on the Xbox. It got annoying when I would be logged in on my X1X and walk into the living room and the Kinect saw me and logged me in, kicking me off the other Xbox... I can see single Xbox use cases though.
  • I think the fan (power supply) and the spinning Hard Drive would make it costly to add to the chassis of the X-Box. I hope they add far-field microphones to this rumored Web Camera.
  • Didn't think about the fan and HDD noise.
  • Also don't forget about the coil whine lol. Furthermore there was a major backlash when the original xbox one launched many were concerned Microsoft was spying on them through the kinect...
  • I would love this, because I'm tired of my Logitech Brio breaking after every other update.
  • > webcam for Windows 10, Xbox
    I guess we can thank MS for bringing Win10 to Xbox for this one.
  • I guess we can also thank them for the way they handled kinect, right?
  • The kinect 2.0 was poorly implemented as hardware resources were locked down for Kinect 2.0 - that could've been used by developers. So even if you did not use the kinect 2.0 the xbox one was somewhat hamstrung. Plus given the relatively low end custom SOC in both the PS4 and Xbox one (being the weaker of the two), Microsoft had no choice but to free up the locked down resources.
  • MS didn't support it. They hardly made any games for it.
  • Yes, there weren't many any games using the Kinect and no, we do not know for a fact there weren't any games in the pipeline using the Kinect that were canned along with the studios that were closed down.
  • So your argument is some hypothetical games that never came along?
    You're making points based on speculation from nothing.
    Sorry but I don't discuss that way. I'm only talking with facts. The fact is MS hardly supported the damn thing with games.
  • The most depressing thing for me with the Kinect is that the developers that DID support it well and use it to heighten regular games it was an incredible device. For example the Forza titles and Alien Isolation off the top of my head had killer Kinect implementation. I don't think it really worked as a standalone control scheme but bringing dialog and some subtle movement controls into games really helped build immersion.
  • "For Windows 10 users, such a webcam would enable Windows Hello authentication for any PC, helping it to break from its current confines of laptops that happen to ship with a compatible IR camera on board." Um, since when is that true? Didn't WC do a best Windows Hello webcam article recently?
  • There's really only a handful Windows hello camera options available. The logic tech be the only 4k webcam.
    Some of the cheaper ones only do 720P video and no built in mic.
  • Oh, nice. Will it feature Kinect for Azure hardware? Cause that would be an instant sell for me. Kinect devices are the best depth cameras around.
  • People have every right to be upset the way MS handled kinect this generation.
    First they forced it on their fanbase. Doing that probably to recover the development cost but also knowing fully well that they weren't going to support with enough games.
    They hardly made any games for it throughout the generation and even stopped talking about it in E3s or gamescom soon after launch. Spencer and MS kept saying kinect wasn't dead, there will be more support and games for it. They kept trying to sell it to gamers even though they hardly planned to make any games for it. At the time, Spencer said that all XB1 devices will work on Scorpio. ofc no one talked about needing an adapter that they would stop making. Spencer and MS misled consumer so many times in 5 years... It's strange to see people still defending MS for this thing, but I'm not really surprise. Some people will defend MS no matter what they do.
  • Misled? Not really there was no major adoption for the kinect 2.0.
    Developers had to choose between higher res + frames or kinect functionality. This is because the amount hardware resources used by the Kinect 2.0 - this was pretty much baked into console bios so to speak. Therefore they had to release an update to prevent the Kinect 2.0 taking up these resources when plugged in. Allowing Developers to hit higher resolutions and frames and gamers not having any noticeable loss of ability or playability when the Kinect 2.0 was plugged in. So, not really they didn't mislead anyone. The implementation across the board could have been better. Hopefully the next Kinect uses Type-C and not some hulking proprietary port.
  • Yes, misled.
    They hardly MADE any games for it. They hardly really supported it. Even though MS weren't making many games for kinect and how they removed it from the bundle, they just kept making statements about how they are committed to kinect.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/14/xbox-one-microsoft-in...
    https://www.onmsft.com/news/spencer-says-microsoft-not-abandoning-kinect...
    https://www.polygon.com/2015/6/16/8793725/kinect-games-in-development-xb... They knew fully well that they were not going to support it but they just kept making statements to make people buy it... Even recently in 2016 he said
    https://segmentnext.com/2016/10/06/phil-spencer-talks-future-kinect-xbox...
    MS clearly said all original XB1 accessories will be compatible with scorpio... In 2013-14, they knew about the things you are talking about but they still pushed kinect. They still forced it on their fanbase saying that it would NEVER be sold separately.
    https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-says-xbox-one-will-never-sell-withou... No one forced Spencer and MS to still push kinect for years. It was MS/Spencer's choice not to make enough games for their product kinect 2.0. Next kinect? Seeing what happened with the last one, I doubt there will be another kinect anytime soon.
    At this time I think MS is more interested in services. How to get continuous flow of money from gamers...
  • Yes, the launch of the initial Xbox one was botched and the Kinect functionality too. But to say mislead is a major step, you haven't taken into that there was no Xbox lead in the SLT prior to Phil Spencer getting to promoted. Therefore to cut costs, Xbox got some of the brunt of cost cutting and that decision was made far beyond Phil Spencer and the time Don Mattrick. As result the Xbox division could not afford to stretch limited resources. Which at the time was focused on getting backwards compatibility working flawlessly. The bundling of the Kinect 2.0 would have made interacting with Cortana way easier. You need to look at this objectively and when you look at what has happened. I wouldn't say mislead, I would say lack of foresight on the side of the bean counters.
  • I am looking at it objectively. The only thing I see is the end result. They hardly made any games for it even though they kept on selling the idea that they were committed to kinect till reecently. You keep making excuse for MS but I'm sorry like I said no one forced them to make any of these statements. The PS4 also had a camera but they didn't force it to customers. They didn't hype it up as much as MS hyped kinect and the ironic thing is that right now PS4's camera can be probably used to play a lot more games than kinect as it's used with the PS VR. I say they misled because
    1) They said kinect will always be sold with XB1, misleading people into getting the kinect even though if they didn't want it.
    2) They kept saying they were committed to kinect even though the fact is that they hardly supported the thing by making games for it.
    3) They said all XB1 accessories will be compatible with Scorpio without talking of an overpriced adapter that they would stop producing. Objectively, all these are statments MS made. No one forced them to make them.
    When Sean Murray said so many things about NMS before launch and the things were not initially in the game, so many people called him a liar and said he misled people. No one said he lacked foresight.
    Here it's worst. MS said or promised things but they failed to deliver for whatever reason.
  • I agree with you completely Guest. We were mislead. This is an excellent article to back up what you are saying complete with MS's own marketing campaign.
    https://www.onmsft.com/news/xbox-one-xs-marketing-is-still-lying-to-cons...
    I don't hate MS. Just very disappointed in the way they have supported some of their products over the past several years and by supported I mean they haven't.
  • Thanks for the link. The article explains things so well...
    The thing is that we should not hate or even love a company. We can love or hate their strategies.
    If they deserve to be criticised we as consumers should criticise them.
  • I agree. I guess my "hate" comment stems from a defensive mechanism. To some if you start pointing our issues or being critical of MS you are a "hater".
  • Ooooh, they should totally do this. For the Xbox, they should call it something catchy, like "Kinect" (a play on "Connect"), and let you use it for interactive games, video chats, and to control the Xbox without a remote (use your body like a remote!). This could be great!
  • I think you are just being sarcastic. And I like. :-)
  • I miss using your body as a remote with the Kinect that was a killer feature.