A new $49 adapter, announced by Microsoft this morning, will allow an Xbox One Kinect to plug into Windows 8 and 8.1 machines via USB, making it possible to use the version of the sensor originally made for the game console for Kinect-enabled Windows apps and games on PCs and tablets.
The surprise announcement is the latest step in a broader move by Microsoft to unify its platforms. Although it won’t be possible to play Xbox One games on Windows — at least not yet — the company is simultaneously starting to let developers deploy Kinect-enabled Windows apps for consumers in the Windows Store, expanding beyond the initial focus on commercial/enterprise apps for the Kinect for Windows platform.
Microsoft’s existing Kinect for Windows sensor sells for $199.99, and the company’s Kinect for Xbox One sensor sells for $149.99. The idea with the $49 adapter was to make it possible for consumers to buy the Xbox One sensor and the adapter for the same price as the Kinect for Windows sensor, said Scott Evans, partner director of program management in Microsoft’s Operating System Group.
Using the adapter to plug in the Xbox One Kinect to a Windows machine should be seamless, Evans said, automatically pulling in the drivers required to use the Xbox One Kinect just as if it were a Kinect for Windows sensor. The company says the Xbox One Kinect will work the same as the Windows Kinect on Windows, without installing an SDK.
“It’s super-accessible from a consumer point of view,” Evans said.
The adapter will be available starting today in the Microsoft Store online and other retail outlets.
These are some of the Kinect for Windows apps initially being released in the Windows Store.
- Nayi Disha: Series of interactive apps for early childhood education that gets kids up on their feet and learning through movement.
- YAKiT: An app from Seattle startup Freak n’ Genius that allows people without design expertise to animate 2D or 3D characters in real time.
- 3D Builder: An app that enables anyone to scan a person or object, turn it into a 3D model, and create a 3D print of that model.
In a related move, Microsoft is also releasing the Kinect SDK 2.0 for Windows developers, which first debuted as a public preview in June.