It’s been over a decade since Microsoft unveiled the Kinect, a motion-sensing gaming peripheral for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Microsoft has tried and tried to make Kinect a reality, even going so far as to pair it with the Xbox One, but it ultimately failed to capture gamers’ attention. It ditched the Kinect in 2017, but the technology is still around, and now European TV provider Sky is going to give it to consumers again.
The next generation of Kinect won’t have the Kinect branding – it’s just an accessory for Sky’s new Wi-Fi TVs called “Sky Glass”. The hardware looks a lot like the Kinect boxes you might remember from the previous console generation. It has a large lens on one side, but the rest of the sensors are obscured. So, it looks more like the Xbox One version than the original Kinect.
The Microsoft Kinect hit a miserable 480p resolution, but the version of Kinect powering the Sky Glass experience has been upgraded to 4K. Most of the intended use cases will sound familiar to anyone who has used a Kinect. You can use gestures and motion controls with your TV, and the camera opens up a plethora of social features for chatting and gaming. Voice control will also be available on Sky’s Kinect clone.
Additionally, Sky and Microsoft are working on developing a video chat feature that lets you watch content with another Sky Glass user in a small picture-in-picture window. Video chatting through services like Zoom will also be an option, and the device will have the same great subject tracking and zoom features as the Xbox’s Kinect. Obviously, Kinect was mostly about games, and Sky Glass will have some of those features as well. Games like Fruit Ninja will use the camera’s depth-sensing capabilities to track body movement, and Sky’s network can connect you with opponents in other homes. There isn’t a ton of information on which games will be compatible with reborn technology, but it’s safe to assume they’ll be of the laid-back variety.
Microsoft’s misadventure with Kinect was meant to be the dawn of a new era for the connected home: games, movies, video chat, voice control, all in one device! It would have been great if it had been successful, but the Kinect wasn’t the right device, or maybe the tech just wasn’t ready. However, the new Sky Glass camera performs better, so maybe that will make a difference this time around. If people love it, maybe Kinect technology will make a comeback. If not, well, he’ll probably rise from the dead. Just give it a few years.
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