News from the video game industry for the week of April 5
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista take a moment to look at some of the notable stories in the world of gaming. This week, Sony says goodbye to the PlayStation Home virtual world, Blizzard starts up the beta for StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, a report claims the original Xbox could have been given away as a free console, and Microsoft is discontinuing the second-generation Kinect for Windows sensor.
Microsoft retires original Kinect for Windows sensor
Microsoft is planning to phase out sales of the original Kinect for Windows sensor in 2015. In a blog post spotted by Slashgear, the availability of the improved version 2.0 sensor and SDK 2.0 has prompted the company to put to an end sales of the preceding model. Microsoft warns that business customers with "commitments to the original sensor" should get in contact as no more original sensors will be produced once the current stock sells out.
PC drivers allow Xbox One controller use, $200 developer Kinect for Windows v2
Microsoft has announced today that they will be issuing a new set of drivers that allows people to use Xbox One controllers with their PCs. While not yet part of an official update in Windows, gamers are able to get their hands on the drivers now. The company also announced today that pre-orders are up for the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, which will ship to developers in July.
New Kinect for Windows sensor accompanied by new SDK
Microsoft has updated the version of the Kinect for Windows, bringing it in line with the Kinect used in the Xbox One, the company has revealed. The new sensor bar will ship sometime this summer alongside an updated software development kit, with Microsoft also preparing to make it easier for developers to provide members of the public with Kinect-enabled Windows apps.
New sensor to have improved camera, skeletal system
Microsoft will be releasing an updated version of its Kinect for Windows sensor next year. Following on from the launch of the Xbox One and its inclusion of a new Kinect interface, the add-on for computers will have a number of matching improvements and a new software development kit, thanks to its shared technology set with the console version.
Object scanning and refined hand gestures in new SDK version
Microsoft is introducing hand recognition and 3D modelling in real time to the Kinect for Windows. An update for version 1.7 of the Kinect for Windows software development kit will be available to download on March 18th, and also marks the first time that Microsoft will be releasing code samples for the SDK through CodePlex.
Kinect gets new capabilities ahead of Windows rollout
Microsoft has updated the software development kit for its Kinect sensor, adding facial expression recognition and other capabilities to its 3D camera system. The update comes ahead of Microsoft's release of the Kinect for Windows SDK, which will bring the Kinect's feature set from the Xbox 360 to Windows desktops and notebooks. The update is largely in keeping with what Microsoft previously revealed as forthcoming features for Kinect.
Kinect for Windows 1.5 coming late in May
Microsoft has just revealed that the 1.5 release of its Kinect for Windows software is coming at the end of May. The most significant change will include what Microsoft calls "seated," or 10-joint skeletal tracking that will give the Kinect cameras the ability to track the arms, head, and neck of a user. This will work both in the near mode for seating as well as the regular, standing mode.