The Result Of Stupid Protectionism: Microsoft Kinect Can't Be Used On Microsoft Windows PCs

from the really,-really-stupid dept

With all the recent coverage of how Microsoft handled the Xbox One release, in which it had originally planned on limiting used games use and requiring an internet connection to function, before subsequently walking all that back amid the understandable outcry, you may have been under the impression that Microsoft learned its lesson. Perhaps you thought that they would no longer go about product releases in a locked-up, protectionist fashion.

Well, you’d be wrong, of course. Recent reports indicate that Microsoft is reversing the way they handled tinkering capabilities on their Kinect device for their new console, locking the device up this go around.

Ars Technica reports that “the new generation Kinect that comes packaged with every Xbox One console has a proprietary connector that cannot be plugged directly into a PC and that Microsoft is not planning to release an adapter to allow such cross-platform use.”

Even if developers want to hack the sensor and use it, Microsoft won’t like it. The company told Ars that Kinect for Xbox One “is not licensed for commercial use, supported, or under warranty when used on any other platform, including Windows.”

This is a direct reversal of how they handled the Kinect for the Xbox 360, for which they encouraged developers to hack it and use it in ways Microsoft hadn’t imagined themselves. This led to entire communities devoted to discovering new and interesting ways to use the device, not to mention a great deal of free R&D Microsoft could build upon for themselves.

But all that will be gone with the latest iteration. Unlike the exceptionally useful Xbox 360 controller, you can’t even use the Microsoft Kinect with a Microsoft operating system. So thanks, Microsoft, for proving that hubris exists on a corporate level.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “The Result Of Stupid Protectionism: Microsoft Kinect Can't Be Used On Microsoft Windows PCs”

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Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

This article is inaccurate. Microsoft intends to release the Kinect 2.0 to developers under the SDK license of $400 which will include a special adapter for PCs.

Last year, it was free.

Personal opinion: I saw this coming. Once gamers rejected the XB1’s “future”, it was just a matter of time before Microsoft took it out on developers.

They’ve already received massive backlash over its Visual Studio software being “app only”, so the company is desperately grasping at straws to be like Apple.

I’ve been a developer of Microsoft products and services for over 20 years, and this makes my stomach turn.

I’d never thought I’d live to see this day from Microsoft.

I think my next job will be a greeter. I’ve been practicing.

“Welcome to Walmart!”

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Interesting. The page I read on Microsoft’s website is now gone, and the link weneedhelp is now the only source.

The adapter wasn’t listed, but I could have swore MS responded to developers requesting it. Since I can’t validate this, excuse the adapter from the update.

Even still, make sure the update tells the world this is still a stupid decision on Microsoft’s part, since the application is limiting the number of developers who get the kit (and good luck trying to figure out who gets one).

jackn says:

This article is inaccurate. Microsoft is not trying to be protectionist, they are trying to go out of business as soon as possible.

They’ve also started having IE report random javascript problems at least once per page.

A ms source said, “We were planning on being out of business before 2014, but it is going to take a little longer to piss off enough people.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I wonder if this move has anything to do with the fact that the company that invented and makes the Kinect hardware will soon be selling the tech to any interested OEM.

After all, its hard to compete with a product when anyone can get a Kinect and develop for it for free. If I was the hardware inventor I would stipulate that if MS wants to open up the new and more powerful Kinect technology that I would want more money per unit sold.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m with #5 on this. I refuse to have another console in my house. It doesn’t matter who makes it. If one will do it so will another. Microsoft has unknowingly killed the console and gaming market for their consoles.

If Microsoft has access so does the government and I am pasted teed about this spying on everyone, just because they can.

Dan S (profile) says:

Over a month ago they announced that they were just forking it, and that for some reason while the specific hardware was bound to PC or console, they aren’t leaving kinect 2.0 out of PCs completely.

They’re just making a separate “Kinect for Windows.”

It sounds like there are differences in more than just interface, but I don’t know why.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Ooh, ouch. That’s gonna kill the Kinect. I mean, have you seen all the mods and applications that have been developed for it? It’s a neat gadget that is great for many things… except controlling games.

There’s a painful irony about Microsoft ignoring Kinect’s potential by trying to push it as a game control device. It’s like Cave Johnson discovering portal technology, then trying to apply it to shower curtains.

Anonymous Coward says:

After the way Microsoft treated Play For Sure, Rhapsody, Zune, etc., Is anyone really surprised to see them shoot their foot off just so they could spite their own face with it? They don’t seem to have any long term strategies anymore, they just trick people into paying to be beta testers for products that will never be supported. Watching MS commit slow motion suicide is one of my favorite guilty pleasures these past few years.

Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

Second verse, same as the first...

It’s hard to see this as news considering it’s basically the exact same thing that happened with the development of the Xbox 360.

It’s easy to forget that the original Xbox started out as a a hobby/vanity project of some Microsoft engineers who posited they could make a game console out of a relatively low end Windows PC – aka the DirectX Box. Since it was generally overlooked by the key players at Microsoft who were focused entirely on Windows and Office it ended up being a wonderfully open platform for hobbyist developers. Those hobbyists (not Microsoft or Sony) were the ones who transformed the game console into an all-in-one media platform. In fact XBMC (ie the Xbox Media Center) has thrived as a HTPC platform completely independent from the Xbox.

The Xbox 360 was not a hobby or vanity project. It was envisioned from the start as a way to generated subscription revenue via Xbox Live. It worked well enough in the short term but thanks to locking out the innovators who made the original more than just a PC or a PS2 copycat they ended up hitching their wagons to old media with the Xbox One.

TerraHertz (profile) says:


Please, have some sympathy for poor Microsoft. It must be very difficult to implement and market a gaming platform with government-mandated 24/7 NSA-online home surveillance, in a way that only a few people will recognize. It’s a delicate trade off – MS need to retain enough market share to keep funding Mr Gates’ crucial population cull vaccines, not to mention avoid Mr Gates getting kneecapped by his Elite NWO ‘friends.’ While at the same time minimizing the number of hackers who figure out what the system really does, to a range that can be comfortably and quietly handled by the CIA’s assassination branch. After all it only takes a few hundred cases of new cars suddenly accelerating into fiery crashes, young men dying of heart attacks just after eating lunch, guys discovered dead from auto-erotic asphyxiation, and shooting suicides with back-of-head bullet entries, before the public might start to get suspicious.

The Kinect component is probably the most stressful for Microsoft. How do you build in facial and expression recognition so you can identify people smiling as they think about k-lling the P-resident, so MS gets a nice income stream from CIA rendition kickbacks, while not allowing anyone to plug the thing into their PC and notice all the packets it’s trying to send to Langley or where ever?

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what else is stupid. I bought a new Samsung Laptop with Windows 8 and it doesn’t even come with an installation disk. I called Samsung to request one and they said they don’t offer one. I then called Microsoft and they said to call Samsung.

I am to make one from the installed copy it came with but it doesn’t let me.

So when the operating system goes bad in a few years or so I am stuck having to either buy a new operating system or buy a new laptop. What luck.

Anonymous Coward says:

Microsoft is top dog and these actions make no sense. If they let the Xbox and Windows play happily each other to the point where the Xbox becomes just high end gaming machine that’s cheaper than what you can do with other store bought gaming machines… what can they possibly lose?

I can understand throwing a monkey wrench into the works to stop things working with non Microsoft based products but FFS this is your own company! Get all incestuous with that crap.

Bob says:

Does no one else get why this was done? It’s accounting, pure and simple. The original kinect sold at a discount compared to what it cost to make because MS was counting on game sales to shore up the profits. Any developer that snagged one and never used it for gaming ended up costing MS money.
This time around they want to make sure they’ll recoup the cost of the sensor, either through game sales or through a higher priced sensor. I don’t begrudge them the move; they paid to develop the tech and manufacture the device, and they should see some return on that.

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