Current Kinect hardware is being phased out as Microsoft rolls in something better. Via their Kinect blog, Microsoft is announcing they’ve decided to phase out the legacy Kinect version one in order to focus on Kinect version two. Microsoft’s Kinect version two shipped in October along with an SDK, which signaled the end of the existing Kinect hardware anyway. No solid drop-dead date was given for the original Kinect, suggesting Microsoft will just be phasing it out as they sell off existing stock.
The reason for the move is “more natural human computing”, with version two of Kinect offering more sensors and increased awareness. It’s also just plain better as a camera, with Microsoft saying it offers “enhanced body tracking, greater depth fidelity, full 1080p high-definition video, new active infrared capabilities, and an expanded field of view.”
What started as a cool Xbox add-on quickly morphed into more as Microsoft found Kinect useful for more than just gesture recognition. Kinect has made itself useful for enterprise and educational purposes, where Microsoft acknowledges the transition to version two and the new SDK may be tough for some customers.
For now, those with simpler needs might want to source an original Kinect, which should start to see fire sales soon enough. If you do find one, try a Kinect adapter with it for a broader range of use-cases.