The Kinect is dead – for gamers, at least.
As Co.Design reports, manufacturing of Microsoft's record-breaking yet much-maligned camera peripheral has officially ceased.
Kinect first launched for Xbox 360 in 2010, and went on to become the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history, with more than 35 million units sold in its lifetime.
According to Microsoft, it was the first consumer-grade device to ship with machine learning at its core.
Microsoft hoped the Kinect's depth-sensing camera and voice recognition microphone would broaden the gaming audience by bringing in those intimidated by or unable to properly use a traditional controller.
Harmonix's rhythm game series Dance Central was probably the biggest franchise that was only playable with a Kinect, but elsewhere developers struggled to find a use for the peripheral, the tracking abilities of which left a fair amount to be desired.
Nonetheless, Kinect functionality snuck into franchises like NBA 2K, Need for Speed, Forza Horizon, [i]FIFA, and Mass Effect, and licensed Kinect titles like Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Sesame Street TV, and Kung Fu Panda 2 became commonplace.
Dance Central aside, The Gunstringer was probably the best Kinect game I played, with Aussie-made Fruit Ninja Kinect also worthy of a mention.
The Kinect got an upgrade when the Xbox One launched in 2013, but despite a much-improved camera and overall performance, it never gained traction and software support eventually dwindled.
One of Microsoft's blunders at the start of the eighth console generation was to bundle a Kinect with every Xbox One. That pushed up the price of the fledgling console, while simultaneously walling off a small portion of its power. Concerns were also raised over user privacy. Sony was quick to capitalise on the mistake.
Following the Kinect's unbundling from Xbox One, the device quickly faded from view, but its core technology powers Microsoft's HoloLens and Cortana, and it found a home in research labs around the world as a low cost yet effective depth sensing camera.
Arguably, Kinect paved the way for devices like Siri and Alexa that are commonplace today.