Is Xbox One Kinect still worth buying in 2022?

Is Xbox One Kinect still worth buying in 2022?

Best answer: No way, no how. Kinect is a dead accessory, with canceled support by Microsoft. A second-hand unit will still function for the small library of available games and provide modest voice command support, but you're far better off just grabbing an Amazon Echo for the latter feature.Use voice with your Xbox: Amazon Echo Dot (opens in new tab) (From $50 at Amazon)

What happened to Kinect?

Microsoft's misunderstood audio-visual peripheral was, at one point, the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time, believe it or not, with over 10 million units sold during the first six months after its release. Of course, that was the Xbox 360 version, which was vastly inferior to the "V2" version available on the Xbox One and Windows PCs.

Despite the superior power of Kinect V2, a combination of poor messaging, bad positioning, and lackluster software support led Kinect V2 as an Xbox accessory down the path of obscurity, right into being killed off completely. The technology Kinect spawned lives on as part of HoloLens and Microsoft's partnered Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and Kinect has been used in a wide array of bespoke projects in various other industries. Where Kinect didn't shine, however, is with the Xbox One. That's not to say it was useless. It simply wasn't allowed to realize its full potential.

To even use a Kinect (second hand or otherwise), you need a pricey adapter (opens in new tab) for modern Xbox consoles that can be hard to find. However, there are alternative third-party adapters like this one (opens in new tab) that do seem to do the job. There are so many hurdles to overcome to get your hands on a Kinect that I'd argue it's not worth the effort.

Kinect games?

Microsoft blundered when it launched the Kinect V2, bundling it with the Xbox One and driving up the total price. To bring that price tag back down, the Kinect was sacrificed. The stigma it generated probably led to decreased interest, and decreased usage led to developer abandonment. There's no reason to expect any new Kinect games to hit the platform any time soon, and the available ones aren't exactly show-stopping "must play" games. They can provide some fleeting entertainment, but I still don't think that makes recommending a Kinect worthwhile.

Why an Amazon Echo is better

Probably the best reason to get a Kinect right now is for the voice commands, allowing you to navigate the dashboard, control media, and even to use your TV with a proper setup. You can issue commands like "Xbox, play Battlefield 1," or "Xbox, turn up the volume," and you can turn up the functionality to 11 by enabling Cortana (while sacrificing some usability in the process).

Activating Cortana or Amazon Alexa integration will allow you to issue more complex commands like "What's the weather like?" and "What is my friend Dave doing?" You can even do things like set and receive reminders, and enjoy the vast majority of Cortana features that are available on Windows 10. That said, she is sadly unresponsive compared to the stock Xbox voice commands that are enabled by default.

Ultimately, Kinect will enhance your Xbox media viewing experience by giving you access to voice commands, providing you set up the microphones correctly. It doesn't always work, of course, and it can be a little frustrating if it fails multiple times, but when it's gone, I will miss it.

The thing is, the cheaper, more versatile, and crucially, supported Amazon Echo can do all of the same stuff. Amazon Echo devices are cheap (opens in new tab), and have far, far more voice features than Kinect. Cortana speakers like the Harman Kardon Invoke can also achieve the same effect, but Microsoft's support of Cortana-based hardware hasn't exactly been reassuring.

What about Kinect's IR blaster?

The Xbox One S and Xbox One X come with an IR Blaster as standard, meaning that they can send signals to your TV to control volume and power, but if you're using the original Xbox One, you could grab a Kinect to get that functionality. However, it's a pretty costly option. You can add IR blaster functionality to your Xbox One with an IR dongle as cheap as $7 (opens in new tab).

Get yourself an Echo

At this point, it simply does not make a whole lot of sense to buy a Kinect. You'll be much better off with an Amazon Echo.

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

83 Comments
  • If I can pick one up on Amazon for $45, I will do so.  I miss it from my 360.  When we got the One, my son was 4 at the time, was shouting commands at it, and wondering why it wasn't working, lol.  He was just getting big enough to play some games with it too, and I'm sure he'd still like to.  If I could use it to track my daughter and let me know when she climbs onto the dining room table when I'm not looking, THAT would be the best use of the tech!
  • Can I move it to my new Xbox one X?
  • I think you're gonna need the adapter that was needed for the One S. I plan on contacting support when I get mine to see if I can wrangle a free adapter out of them. They did say ALL my peripherals would work with the One X
  • Just ordered one with adapter from Amazon for $85 for my new Xbox One X.  I need it for voice control and multi-party Skype call.  My existing Xbox One and Kinect will move to a big screen in different room.
  • Yes, with the adapter but it doesn't work as well when using voice commands.
  • yes with a adapter
  • You can buy modded ones that don't need the adapter on ebay, I paid 45 for second hand and looks mint
  • What was super annoying was not only having to buy the Kinect for my XBox One S, but having to spend another $45 to buy the adapter kit, because MS couldn't be bothered to include the right connections for it. The were OK with building the external adapter, so they did consider people wanting to use it. I don't use it much, but it is about the only way to use Skype on the XBox. That's pretty convenient if you want to do some long distance family Skype chats. Since the XBox is in the family room with a big screen, it is way better than crowding around a PC. MS could just as easily have supported web cams, like the Logitech 920, for this sort of functionality, including the voice command features. The XBox is basically a Windows PC after all.  
  • I wanted a Kinect to use mainly with Skype with family abroad. The Xbox One S was my first Xbox, so I didn't qualify for a free adapter. There was no way I was going to pay extra to have a bungled solution for a camera on my Xbox. I am still holding out hope they allow USB webcams some day to use with Skype & Cortana. I could care less about Kinect enabled games.
  • We still have the original Xbox One w/Kinect.  It sickened us when MS gutted the Kinect by getting rid of gesture control.  My wife and I both hate the various dashboard versions since the original was abandoned.  That said, we still use the Kinect for control of our home theater & voice control.  We DO have Cortana enabled. We are also on the Alpha ring.  We hate using controllers, for ANYthing.  It angers me when we have to pick up the controller to do something.  We should be able to use voice or gesture to do virtually everything on the Xbox.  As it is, we will continue using voice first, controller if absolutely necessary.
  • Same. The Xbox One in 2013 was way better than the Xbox One in 2018. Gesture navigation was phenomenal, especially when coupled with voice commands. We went weeks without ever even turning on a controller. Since they they've forcibly removed these features we made purchasing decisions on, completely removing gesture navigation and nerfing voice commands so badly that the console is completely unusable without a controller, which is the opposite of why we bought it in the first place. They really screwed over consumers and developers and themselves (now that Amazon is taking over the space they had first-mover advantage in). What a missed opportunity, which is pretty much the story of Microsoft in the 21st century.
  • I pretty much never use voice anymore for switching apps. Part of that is probably the newest version of the dashboard being faster. Part of it is probably that in the earlier days I basically went between three or four apps so it felt more intuitive to use "Go to..." The more apps and games to switch between, the less I bothered with figuring out things like the exact name of the app to say (e.g. NBA or NBA GameTime or NBA League Pass, and if I just say NBA, will it confuse with NBA 2K16?). I still use voice a bit for basic media functions (volume/play/pause), but even with those, I seem to have gravitated back to keeping the remote nearby instead of saying the command. I'm not entirely sure why in this case, though. In theory, that is much more useful still since there isn't a way to change volume with the game controller as far as I know. The IR blaster is a necessity, though, since we use a Logitech Harmony remote. And it's an original Xbox One, not an S, so we couldn't remove the Kinect if only for that. Only game I tried that actually used Kinect in any substantial way was Kinect Sports Rivals. It was fun, but needed more empty space than I had easily available, and didn't have any friends playing it so there was no competitive element for me.
  • It wasnt worth buying in 2014, LOL.
  • Exactly right. There have always been a terrible offering of games (unless you're 12 & enjoy those rubbish Dance Central games), and I have no interest in flailing my arms about for gesture control (now defunct anyway) or using my voice when I have a controller in my hands to do tasks much faster.
  • My Kinect on the Xbox One is used daily by my kids.  I think it really boils down to the games that are out there, yes it would be much more used by more people if there were more titles avalable, why not BC 360 Kinect games and bring some really fun games to the Xbox One, I know my kids would be buying them.
  • Unfortunately Wii and playstation motion controllers made porting to Xbox brainless. Xbox had a larger user base and 10m Kinect in peoples houses. Now however switch is back to using controlees and ps4 uses the motion vontrolers for only some not all vr games. So now if u make a motion game for Kinect u have almost no user base to port it to. Back compat is a way to widen the games first while then wooing back developers. I mean really room scale vr with no wires.....if you have a Kinect.....the headset would be cheaper.