For years, Microsoft insisted that the Kinect was an integral part of the Xbox One’s ecosystem. But then the company started changing its tune, dropping Kinect gestures with an Xbox One interface update a couple of years ago, and releasing new Xbox One consoles that can’t support the peripheral without special adapters. Microsoft has since discontinued both the Kinect and the adapter necessary to use it on Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and PC, and has revealed why it has made these decisions.
According to Microsoft, it is killing the Kinect to make way for new gaming accessories. Interestingly enough, Microsoft refers to these new gaming accessories as “fan-requested,” which could be a big hint as to what those new accessories will be exactly.
“After careful consideration, we decided to stop manufacturing the Xbox Kinect Adapter to focus attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming accessories across Xbox One and Windows 10.”
The most obvious possibility is that Microsoft is referring to virtual reality hardware for the Xbox One. Sony has gotten a serious headstart on virtual reality, but Microsoft has been reluctant to throw its hat in the ring so far, apparently waiting to see if VR would be just a passing fad or something more. It’s true that virtual reality has had a slow start, but it has also seen some success, and with the beefed-up Xbox One X, it may be possible that Microsoft is gearing up for VR support in the near future.
Microsoft killing the Kinect to focus on virtual reality support would make sense. After all, the motion control craze has died down quite a bit, with VR seemingly taking its place. Microsoft wouldn’t even necessarily have to manufacture its own virtual reality headset either; its strong relationship with Oculus could open the door for an Oculus Rift headset designed specifically with the Xbox One X in mind.
Alternatively, Microsoft could be referring to its HoloLens device or a completely unannounced device entirely. At any rate, it’s nice to have some answers as to why Microsoft decided to discontinue Kinect, and it will be interesting to see what new fan-requested gaming accessories the company announces as its replacement.