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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 (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 for modern Xbox consoles that can be hard to find. However, there are alternative third-party adapters like this one 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, 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.

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 is a Senior 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.
  • Thought it would be cool, but for Xbox One S users its an added expense. I gave it a shot nonetheless. Got it used for 30$ at GameStop, got a used adapter for the Xbox One S for about 35$ on Amazon, then got a copy of Fantasia (widely raved great game for the kinect). It was ok. I ended up reselling all of that back on eBay and made a little bit back on it. I couldn't justify having that huge thing with the plethora of added cables to my clean looking system already. For all the benefits you get, they just didn't seem to outweigh the cons.
  • Both of mine randomly stop working until I restart the console. They get used to turn on the console and we Skype with them. Skype is a whole other complaint, what a horrible experience on xbox
  • Kinect is a great example of a company with mind blowing (dare I say, futuristic!) technology and basically no idea what to do with it. 
  • You left off the best feature.  Skype via xbox.  With a large family we can all pile on the couch and skype grandma!
  • Epic fail of me. I guess I forgot this cus I have no friends. ;__; Does it work well with UWP Skype?
  • Yeah, Kinect on Xbox One works well with UWP Skype. You can have four-person party chats on the big screen, the picture and sound quality is solid, and the auto-digital zoom is handy too.
  • Also you forgot to mention that the cost really should include the kinect adapter, which is another $40.  And that will use one of your USB ports (permanently, assuming you leave it plugged in all the time).
  • True, good shout
  • Kinect secret
    If u have connected home devices and use Windows is either 10 or mobile then install home remote, use the designer to tally make voice commands. Then install homeremote on Xbox and download your save file using the restore option. Now Cortana on Xbox is even better than Alexa period.
  • I'd like to find out more about this.  There's no way I'll ever waste my money on Alexa, but I felt Microsoft blew a missed opportunity to leverage Xbox w/Kinect as a way to control a connected home.
  • Yes, I'd like some more info about this setup too. First I'm hearing about it
  • Oh wow, I'll definitely try this.
  • If you are able to do it, I'd love to read an article / how-to guide on Windows Central about it. What TheRealBatman said sounds very promising, but I have no idea what he's talking about or how to do it.
  • If ms does make Kinect games back compatible then that will breath new life into Kinect and if people buy enough of them maybe well see a resurgence of good games for it.
  • I had an Xbox One and "upgraded" to a One S. I use Kinect all the time, mainly for voice commands when controlling media. I have turned Cortana off because she was just useless. It probably doesn't help that I'm a Brit living in Canada, so she gets confused by my sexy sounding accent :) Biggest problem with Kinect is that the IR blaster doesn't work. I have my Xbox hidden away, and frequently use Kinect to turn the tv on / adjust volume etc. With the One S the IR blaster functionality is from the Xbox itself, and doesn't work through Kinect. I ended up having to buy the cables that plug into the back of the Xbox. I wish they would bring back this functionality, but I believe it's a limitation of USB, which is now used for Kinect, rather than the proprietary connection that the original Xbox used. I was mightily unhappy when I "upgraded," especially as Microsoft advertised Kinect as fully working on the One S. First world problems, I know. But I was asked!
  • I still have an original One, but was thinking of finally upgrading to the X, but as just a casual gamer, but one who uses the xbox more as a media center, this has me re-thinking.
  • There should be a high end media box version of one x packaged with the media remote 2 HDMI cables the tv tuner and the Kinect. It should come with 3months of live,Hulu,Netflix and one movies and tv uhd rental.
  • I'm sure you meant it, but of course and DVR capability.  A cord cutters dream machine this would be.
  • Also since Kinect is flat black it'll look slick next to theX. If only we had a much smaller Kinect that could be fully powered by usb 3.0
  • Mine suffered a hardware failure this past month. After living with Kinect, it's hard going without it. I've had to find the TV and stereo remotes that I haven't had to use for four years, and I'm still struggling to remember to turn things off when I shut down the Xbox. Controlling the media players with voice commands (without having to grab a controller and plug in a headset) is a big missing feature now, as we'd gotten used to be able to shout "Hey, Cortana" from the kitchen to pause a video. I know these are very first-world problems, as it's not *that* hard to pick up a controller when needed (and I could get an IR blaster for ten bucks to plug into my Xbox to turn things on and off), but when I found Amazon selling Kinects on sale for $40, it was a no-brainer clicking "Buy".  
  • My Kinect shuts itself off after about 5-10 minutes of use, only to turn itself on again (This has been going on for months).  Anyone else with similar experiences (Not sure if it's related to the software updates, the sensor itself, or the system)?
  • A long time ago but when I called them they warrentied it
  • I thought it was related to updates as well. I'm in the Alpha preview, and it seemed like it would start power-cycling with the preview updates only to settle down when the full release came out.  This latest release, though, it was cycling every 30 seconds; and when I filed a bug report, I actually got an Xbox Live message in response saying the engineers identified a hardware failure in my Kinect. So, yeah, you might be seeing the early stages of failure. :(  
  • That is exactly what both of mine do
  • Thanks for the replies, sort of corroborated my suspicions.  I'd rather it not be the sensor but hey, it happens.
  • I use it for voice controls and for skype. Worth it for those 2 things, especially skype, since I can call my parents from the living room couch and my whole family can be in the picture.
  • "The IR blaster isn't only useful for controlling your TV, however. If your Xbox is tucked neatly away behind your television or you want to place it in a cupboard or something, you might have trouble registering your Xbox controllers wirelessly. The Kinect boosts the wireless range of the Xbox controllers by a significant amount, which can be useful in certain situations. It's definitely something to keep in mind." So both the kinect and IR blaster boost the controller signal? 
  • I was referring to the IR blaster within Kinect there, but yeah it feels more powerful to me than my base Xbox, but I have a suspicion my base Xbox One S IR blaster might be broken or something, it feels way too weak.
  • I love my Kinect, but recently with the latest alpha ring update, it's been very spotty.  Hoping that gets cleared up soon.
  • For me Kinect is the main reason to own a console. If it was not for Kinect I would plug a PC in the TV (I already have a desktop gaming PC where I do most of my gaming). I hope Kinect works with Xbox One X. Comments over the internet says it does but I can't find anything official or a video or something
  • Where can I read more about Xbox 360 Kinect titles coming over to Xbox One in the near future,as mentioned?
  • Got previews coming soon.
  • I want to know this is well. We have been waiting on Kinect Party to come to the Xbox one for a long time. And also, the original Kinect Sports were a lot of fun.
  • I still use Kinect on a daily basis, to control the console. I also use it in games, examples: to control Anna is Forza Horizon 2 and 3. I really hope we can still use it on XboxOne X
  • Yup to forza too and was great with dr4 and rise
  • kinect is amazing use it every day
  • Another little secret is to set the trigger word to "please". Example. "hey Cortana, Please turn on the kitchen lights". Vs hey "Alexa tell Insteon to turn on the Insteon scene kitchen lights.". Home remote also supports device individually which Alexa has issues with for most iot devices. But in the end this developers support for Cortana through her ability to tie into apps makes her more useful than either google assistant or siri. And this and cortanium are both great examples of why.
  • ""Microsoft even announced some older Xbox 360 Kinect titles will be ported over to Xbox One in the near future." Is there a link to this announcement? I've been waiting on Kinect Party to come to the Xbox one for a long time..
  • I would like to know as well. Last I heard those were games that would not come to backward compatibility.
  • I've not seen a single announcement from Microsoft on this. 
  • Tough sell at its original price of $99.99, but I bought a Kinect on sale for $42 (still had to drop $39.99 for an adapter) and it's more than worth it at that price point. Nothing beats coming into the basement with hands full of food and drink and being able to say "Hey Cortana, Xbox On" followed by "Hey Cortana, Start <insert app here>." Oh, also, the Kinect is mostly unbothered by ambient noise, which means the commands work even in loud room.
  • I bought the original Xbox one with it bundled. That's in the living room. I bought one on Letgo used for my One S, and got the free adapter from Microsoft. That's in my bedroom. Couldn't imagine my Xboxes without them.
  • Seriously? Some old Kinect titles will be ported from the 360? How'd I miss that? I want more info hahah
    But yeah, at my place the kinect is used for Dance central, Just dance, Fru, Disney Fantasia. The automatic sign in is also a nice touch. I don't regret buying it used.
  • We really need to fact check this. I've done an exhaustive search for this news and haven't found anything on it. I'd love to see the original Kinect Sports and Kinect Party ported over. While not perfect, Kinect Star Wars would be nice. 
  • From a consumer perspective I guess the choice of words would be understandable.  If you were going to use it only for the xbox one you could be forgiven for looking at it as the proverbial  glass half full . However for people who use kinect for other things than xbox one they would word it differently.  "Until when can I continue buying the xbox one kinect!"  It's all a matter of perspective.  For hobbyists, developers, and others who need a cheap, easy to install depth sensors with a full sdk, there are scant choices.  Compared to standalone intel realsense cameras, xbox one kinects are positively plentiful and easy to get.  Considering the era of 3d mixed reality experiences we're approaching, things like the kinect sensor are going to be popular.  Since the kinect v2 for PC was discontinued the only other way was to use the xbox one kinect and kinect PC adapter.   Though the upcoming windows MR headsets seem to be able to scan objects in 3d with just 2 cameras,  I would expect the kinect to be much more accurate.   Project Tango seems to have stalled and wasn't accurate to begin with. From remotely measuring your interpupillary distance   to  replacing expensive equipment to measure dinosaur bones  to simply scanning objects to you windows 10 3d builder app.  It's a whole lot of bang for cheap.  You could even use this as a windows hello camera if you don't really have anything else to use it for and you'd still end up ahead.  Mouse facial recognition camera, the cheapest one available is still almost the same price without having the added advantage of being a cheap developer device.
  • still think they should have put a microphone array into the xbox one x if only for the voice commands and enabling cortana to be used like alexa in the living room.
  • Ditto. But the camera gives Cortana Alexa show capabilities
  • MS gave up on kinect LONG ago.  They force early consumers to buy it saying it'll will ALWAYS come with the XB1. Sure enough they removed it few months after that. Forcing it with XB1 was suppose to encourage devs to make games for it seeing the instal base. Sure enough that was bs as even MS gave up on making kinect games... More lies, and promises from MS...
  • Ever since Cortana became "wake up" directive, had to stop using it. PC and phone were going off too and rending the process of pausing a video with my voice useless.
  • The Kinect is one of the key reasons we bought our Xbox One, and one of the key reasons we won't be buying a newer Xbox. I've said elsewhere that we have Cortana turned on with all our devices. Voice control is our first choice for doing anything on any device.
  • Kinect is actually 100% compatible with Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
    As a Microsoft Ambassador, I had a try of my Kinect (which came originally with my Xbox One (not a Day One 2013, unfortunately)) on one of the firsts Xbox One X of Belgium and everything worked after connecting everything and by using the official Kinect to USB adapter (still available on AliExpress and Amazon).
  • It's a must buy if you see a sale for Just Dance 2018 and purchase it for the kids, and after the purchase you realize that you either need a Kinect, or you have to let the kids flail about with an expensive smartphone in their hand. So I hear...
  • Well if you're into WMR, buying a Kinect is totally worth it, you can use it as a full body external sensor with the right software.
  • I bought it while it was on sale just for the voice control. I don't think it's a good deal at full price, but on sale it's legit.
  • I hope the new Kinect hardware we saw at build results in a first party Kinect update of some kind. Like an advanced invoke with video scanning. But a lot smaller. Under or over tv style.
  • Also jez and Dan keep forgetting to mention these betas are not just for Alexa they support google home and INVOKE and kinect commands will continue to work so that headset Cortana commands do too. Maybe the heart will grow fonder and they can bring it back for nostalga and blow us away with deep Cortana integration by e3 next year.
  • The voice controls have gotten so much worse since the beginning, especially on my Xbox one x. Device control is hit or miss as well. The original Xbox one used to allow the kinect to act as an ir blaster and now with the x, only the console can ir blast. It has turned out to be such a disappointment. Kind of sad too, because I used the voice controls so much unlike, Cortana on desktop.
  • Pretty sad that there's such good tech in the Kinect and the dumb adapter is worth twice as much
  • I sold mine when I bought a Xbox One S. Shortly after I found a Kinect with the adapter for $30 on Craigslist. I still enjoy being able to use the voice commands.
  • I was about to buy a webcam and found a kinect for 10 bucks shipped, then bought a usb 3 cable and stripped & joined them leaving the 12v line directly connected to my PSU, couldnt be happier, only wish camera apps could detect and use the IR sensor for low light
  • Someone with sense I bought mine modded for 45
  • Didn't Microsoft make it so developers could work on kinect technology In Azure or something and aren't they adding it to HoloLens 2.
  • If you have an original Xbox One, 100% it is one of the greatest additions to the system. However if you have to buy the USB power adaptor it just simply isn't worth it, regardless of how great the device is which really is a shame because I miss my Kinect so much. That being said, if you can get it cheap enough, it is a must buy. The Google Home connectivity can't come quickly enough.
  • Or buy a kinnect with usb3 modded
  • KINECT PARTY!! If there is only one game that could be ported, this would be it. This game was such a hit a kids party's and it is the only reason I've kept my 360 around. I still use my Kinect all the game though more for voice commands.
  • I'll would sell my Kinect and adapter for $75. I have one connected to my pc and of course one connected to my xbox X.
  • You can get modded xbox one kinnect that plug into usb3