I'm going to ask you all to do something for me. It might seem a little weird, but sit back on your chair, couch seat, picnic blanket, bed, or wherever you may be. Close your eyes and breathe in and out gently. Imagine back an earlier era of Microsoft. The Xbox 360 has been out for a while now, but it's still doing great. New games are releasing left and right, and things couldn't seem to get any better. Take another deep breath in and out. Imagine in your mind, it's November 4, 2010. The Xbox 360 is five years old, but it's still pretty dang good as far as consoles are concerned. What could make it better? Maybe this new fangled peripheral Microsoft is releasing today?
There, it blasts into your mental view: the Kinect. It is a motion-controlled gaming camera the likes of which the world has almost never seen before. The PlayStation has had the Eye for a few years now, but the Kinect is going to break open the industry! Take a few more breaths before you open your eyes to avoid mental shock, because it's time to warp speed to the present day. A time in which the PlayStation Eye is a major thing of the past, and the Kinect is starting to seem like it'll go the same way.
Microsoft bundled their Kinect with every single Xbox One console when it first released, which could have gone either way. Rather than becoming a staple in Xbox console history, this coupling turned the general public against the Kinect. No one wanted it anymore. It was cool when it first came out, especially for kids, but now it was just old hat. There are only so many virtual white water rafting trips you can take. There are a limited amount of times you can learn Zumba or dance with your friends. Especially when virtual reality is taking those experiences to the next level.
The Xbox One S didn't even include a Kinect port. Anyone who was interested in the Kinect had to get a separate USB adapter. It came free with the Xbox One S for a time, but this promotion has now ended. To adapt a Kinect camera into your Xbox One X, you'll have to pay for the adapter. But frankly, I don't know anyone that's going to bother. The camera really has started to go the way of the dodo bird. Developers who might have once created Kinect games are now moving on. In their defense, VR is a much better opportunity for the kinds of experiences they were trying to create in the first place with Kinect.
Those who wish to hold on to the Kinect still can with old versions of the system or with adapters for the newer Xbox consoles. It's still a unique novelty to share with those who have never experienced it. But for the most part, it's going to collect dust on a shelf if you have one. I was actually gifted one by my uncle for my Xbox 360 quite a few years after its heyday. I plugged it in to calibrate the sensor, played a few hours of a couple games, and then promptly shelved it. The problem was I had no room to play. I actually played Child of Eden sitting and standing on my bed. It was the largest space I had the ability to stand on in my bedroom. The living room literally did not have enough space for the Kinect to function.
The Kinect would have to be majorly updated to reduce problems like that before it would be able to make a comeback. And with Microsoft moving on to augmented and mixed reality, there's just no place for the Kinect anymore. There are also of course all the other competitors who are working on full VR. Once these are completely commonplace, there won't be any room for peripherals like this. Maybe we'll see them pop up in arcades, much like Guitar Hero is available now. A lowly Kinect camera will be broadcasting Kinect Adventures or a version of Dance Central for kids and their gaggle of friends to enjoy.
It's a sad end to an era, but we have to give it to Microsoft for giving it a try. If it weren't for the momentary success of the Kinect, maybe virtual and augmented reality wouldn't exist. That would be a depressing future indeed. So thank you, Microsoft. We appreciate the things you did for us and the laughs you gave, but it's time to head for greener pastures. Sayonara, Kinect.