Kinect was a line of motion sensing input devices that was produced by Microsoft for Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles and Microsoft Windows PCs. Based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral, it enabled users to control and interact with their console/computer without the need for a game controller, through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands.
Microsoft officially stopped production of the Kinect in 2017.
Why It Flopped
- It was infamously planned to be mandatory for the Xbox One.
- Despite the plans for the Kinect to be required for Xbox One being cancelled, it was still originally shipped with every new Xbox One. This led to the Xbox One being a less powerful console at a higher price than its main competition, the PlayStation 4. Though Microsoft eventually started to sell Xbox One consoles without Kinect, it was little too late, as this mistake gave PlayStation 4 a clear advantage early in the 8th generation.
- Most of the games were either mini-game compilations or focused on training or dancing.
- The Kinect can very easily lose track of the player's position.
- It already struggles to track one player-tracking two players at once is even harder.
- Menu navigation with the Kinect is often tedious.
- A lot of games were given mixed reviews, and a few were poorly received.
- It failed miserably at trying to introduce players to a realistic experience.
- Rather than utilizing a controller with motion detection, players are "made the controller". Some games like Sonic Free Riders could've made it compatible with them but require it to play instead.
- Unlike the Wii and other motion accessories like the EyeToy for PlayStation 2, it requires a lot of free space in order to be used, forcing players to move around furniture every time they use it. This becomes worse in houses with small living rooms and borderline impossible for people who have it in their bedrooms.
- A slight delay in the controls.
- While playing, it often takes photos of the player (even if you don't want to be taken a photo), such as Kinect Adventures! and Kinect Party.
- It is very expensive, with prices ranging from $150 to $299 dollars.
- It can't function properly if sunlight blocks it, or if the light is turned off.
- It is highly similar to the Xbox Live Motion, a tiny but feature-packed webcam for the 360 that came out around 2006. Meaning that Microsoft sold a bulky, expensive webcam that had the same tech 4 years prior except with motion sensors.
- Although it did sell 35 million units which made it look like an obvious success, Microsoft spent $500 million to advertise the Kinect across the world, and many of these were sold with a bundle with the 360/One.
- It's reasonably good at making players do some exercise.
- Some good games, like Forza Motorsport 4 and Kinectimals use this technology.
- The Xbox One version greatly improves the motion tracking and doesn't need as much space to work, even if not all that many games make use of it.
- It can work on PC normally.
At launch the Xbox 360 Kinect received positive reviews for its games and features, but the Kinect's popularity quickly declined within the next year.
The Xbox One's Kinect received mixed reviews, with praise going for its improvement over the 360 Kinect but criticism over the lack of good games for it
Microsoft considers the Kinect a failure now to the point that not only did they discontinue the Kinect, but they also released the Xbox One S and Xbox One X without the ability to plug the kinect (you can still plug the Kinect on those consoles tho, but you need an unofficial 3rd party adaptor). However, even with said adapter, the Kinect now only works with games, since revisions of the Xbox One operating system have completely removed Kinect support in the Dashboard update and has not been reinstated in any later revision of the software.
There are rumors of Microsoft making a new Kinect in 2019 called Project Kinect for Azure.