Developers could soon be bringing PC-based Kinect games if a new rumor is anything to go by. According to sources, Microsoft is working on building a Kinect SDK that it could release along with official drivers for Windows that can be used by developers to build PC-based Kinect applications. This is expected to take a few more months and the Kinect SDK is believed to be released as a Microsoft XNA “Community Technical Preview” beta.
Not just this. Microsoft could also be releasing a gesture-based control environment on its next generation Windows operating system. You might recall Windows 8 demos from early this month where the OS was demoed to work with potential integration with Kinect.
Of course, all of this is simply speculation at this point. But given Ballmer’s statements that his company would be integrating Kinect with PCs “in the right time“, we cannot wait to find out if we are already there.
Microsoft’s XBox gaming consoles have been notorious for their ‘red ring of death‘ problem in the past. It is estimated that over 30% of the consoles have faced this issue in the past though Microsoft has virtually eliminated this bug with its recent releases. However, according to a report on Guardian, plugging a Kinect to the XBox is reported to be causing the red ring of death bug on the XBox once again.
However, this report needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Microsoft has responded to these claims – and their response makes sense. A company spokesman has noted,
“There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect. Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental.”
One of Microsoft’s biggest success stories last year has undeniably been that of Kinect. At the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, CEO Steve Ballmer opened up on how much of a success this gesture based motion controller for XBox has been. According to him, Microsoft sold nearly 8 million Kinect units since launch. That is in an amazing timespan of just sixty days.
Evidently, a major portion of the sales came during the holiday shopping season in countries like the United States. If you have been following this space, you will be aware that Microsoft sold 2.5 million units of Kinect in the first 30 days of launch. That brings the sale during December to 5.5 million.
The popularity of Kinect does not look like it will be slowing down anytime in the near future. With more than 50 million XBox 360 units available in the market today, along with the fact that Microsoft is still innovating on the Kinect front, we are in for some real good times ahead.
Microsoft is learned to have developed a new application called Avatar Kinect that could be made available with the next XBox update. Avatar Kinect, from what we hear, is a way for XBox Live avatars to interact among themselves in a “chat room“. To put it in another way, Avatar Kinect is a video chat application where users can interact as avatars – like on Second Life – instead of being themselves. Though this does not look like a compelling new addition, the service is expected to enhance the interactive features for XBox Live users.
Microsoft will be demoing this application on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas this week. A few pictures of the CES backstage that is doing the rounds on the blogosphere shows Avatar Kinect which makes its demonstration a certainty.
Kinect, the massively popular gesture based motion controller that recently reported the sale of its 4 millionth unit could be coming to the PC soon. This speculation is courtesy a Korean game developer – GamePrix – who have announced that their newly launched PC-based MMORPG; Divine Souls will support gaming pads that will make it “resemble console games even more, and is scheduled to support Kinect“.
While it is possible that the Kinect controller for Divine Souls could be an unofficial offering, a statement by Microsoft representative Jason Lim has given the speculation a lot of credibility. In a recent interview, Lim is reported to have said,
“Kinect will soon be available as a new controller so it might be supported like joy pad mode in the future. Currently in MS, there are many game companies that are trying to apply for this system.”
If true, this is definitely an interesting proposition that could create an extended market for Kinect outside the XBox gaming audience. We will see how these ideas pan out towards the future.
These are some impressive numbers, ain’t they? Just 25 days after its launch on November 4, Microsoft has announced that their newly launched motion controller is now selling twice as fast as the iPad. The company has reported sales of 2.5 million units in this period which means an average sale of 100,000 units every day.
The numbers are not hard to fathom. Microsoft has partnered with nearly 60,000 retailers across 38 countries and thanks to the discounts and heavy shopping during the Black Friday season, the company has been able to achieve these impressive numbers. Redmond has predicted a total sale of 5 million Kinect units by the end of this year.
Quite clearly, the sale numbers do not project a worldwide success story. Last week, there were reports that suggested that Microsoft had only sold around 26,000 Kinect units in Japan through the opening weekend giving an indication that the high sale price of the motion controller in the country may have created a massive barrier to its sale. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft builds upon the popularity of the opening month to expand into the future.
Media Create, a Japanese video game research firm has published a new report that shows that the new motion controller from Microsoft may not have had the best of starts in the oriental market. According to figures released by the firm, Microsoft sold 26,000 units of Kinect during the opening weekend of November 20 & 21. This number includes stand alone units as well as those bundled with an XBox.
The figure looks all the more sober when you consider that this is just half of the number of Sony PlayStation Move units sold during the debut weekend in October this year. However, a deeper look reveals why. PlayStation Move is available at a price of 5100 Yen (approx. $60.89) a unit. On the other hand, Kinect is being sold at a price of 14,800 Yen (approx. $176.70). Kinect is nearly triple the price of Move and this could be the primary reason why Microsoft has failed to attract the crowds. This has also consequently meant that none of the Kinect games have risen to the top 20 rankings in the past week.
We wonder if Microsoft would wisen up and announce a price drop soon.
Microsoft Kinect has been a terrific success in the American market so far with more than 1 million units being sold in the ten days since launch. However, not many hardcore gamers have taken to the new controller given that a majority of Kinect-supported games at the moment are casual. However, we hear that this could soon change with the launch of a new Kinect supported version of Gears of War.
According to these rumors, Microsoft is looking at the upcoming Spike TV Video Games Awards to make an announcement on this new game. However, it is not clear if this is going to be an all-new version of the game or if the existing version of Gears of War shall be retro-fitted with these Kinect controls. But if the words of Epic Games’ lead designer Cliff Bleszinski are anything to go by, it may just be the latter. He has noted that the Kinect supported version is not going to be Gears of War 3. So there you go.
There appears to be a minor bug with a batch of Microsoft Kinect units that went on sale in the United States earlier this month. A number of users in the official XBox discussion forum have complained that their new motion controller system has been shutting down randomly in the middle of a gaming session. Overheating does not seem to be the root cause as users note that their unit continues to run when the device is warm and freezes or shuts down only intermittently. No fixes have been discovered so far. Here are some excerpts from the discussion.
“We’ve been having trouble with the Kinect shutting down randomly while in the middle of playing games. The lights on the unit go off (not the one on the connector), no error messages or anything, just turns off. We have to unplug it from the USB and re-plug it in, then it boots back up and works for a while.”
“I have also been having my Kinect shut down randomly in the middle of games. I played both Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports and during both the Kinect has turned off while I was in the middle of some activity. I am currently using an Xbox Slim (and thus no usb/power adapter involved- just a direct plug into the back input).”
Have you been facing similar issues with your Kinect as well? Do remember to share your experiences in the comments below.
Earlier this week, a hacker successfully broke into the newly launched Microsoft Kinect webcam based motion controller to be able to transmit monochromatic images tracked by Kinect to a computer. With this hacking done, it was just a matter of time before we got to see more improvisations.
Hacker Theo Watson has now released a OS X port for libfreenect, the open source Kinect driver that was released recently. The new port, a video demo of which you can see embedded below, lets the user run those very monochromatic images from Kinect on a computer running OS X.
This is still not in a very useable form since it does nothing more than transmit your body movements in monochromatic images. But considering the quickness with which these breakthroughs have been achieved, expect for a lot more custom builds to be released shortly.