This week marked a year since the Kinect took effect on the Xbox 360 and made a world-changing impact on gaming and life itself. Since the Kinect entered the market before the holidays last year and set records across the globe, we've seen tons of new games at E3 and more and more creative ways to use Kinect.
What we've also seen is professional and amateur developer teams alike come up with so many different ways to "hack" and use the Kinect that Microsoft decided to embrace the community and come up with fun things like Kinect Fun Labs.
However, there's been some interesting things brewing up on the Microsoft side as well and in 2012, we will see the fruits of their labor.
The Kinect for Windows beta SDK has already been sent out to developers and now is getting ready to go live, commercially sometime in the beginning of 2012.
Microsoft has aimed the current SDK, recently upgraded to stage two, towards schools, research facilities and hobbyists who want to build new apps using Kinect. With the medical field and other scientific studies already creating new and interesting ways to use Kinect in their professions, Microsoft noted in the press release (below) that for only $149, consumers can buy this wonderful piece of 3D, motion capture, RBG camera, audio and depth sensing, voice and facial recognition goodness. What a cheap way to immerse yourself in an intense technology!
The beta SDK was just the start for where they plan to take Kinect. When they launch this commercially, Microsoft said they plan to get more than 200 companies involved in the program in over 25 industries, "from healthcare to education, advertising and the automotive industry."
An official from Microsoft, Alex Kipman, said, "12 months from now, educational, academic and commercial applications will look nothing like what they are today."
Here's the press release from the glorious event that is one year of Kinect for Xbox 360!
One year ago this week, Xbox 360 set out to change the way we interact with games and entertainment with the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360. Controller-free games and entertainment - once the stuff of science fiction - had become a reality through the magic of Kinect. Sales immediately soared with more than 10 million Kinect sensors sold, setting the Guinness World Record as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in 60 days along the way. Kinect opened up Xbox to a broad set of new audiences bringing new categories of entertainment to the platform. Leading brands such as Disney, Sesame Street and National Geographic were inspired by the simplicity and intuitiveness of Kinect's voice and gesture control technologies, developing immersive, fun experiences for everyone. Nearly 40 world-leading entertainment providers, Comcast, Verizon FiOS and HBO GO will join current providers like Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN on Xbox 360 this holiday season and beyond, to deliver TV entertainment experiences that are more personal, effortless and social.
People were inspired. Six months ago, a diverse group of hobbyists and academics from around the world embraced the possibilities of Kinect. In a wave of creativity, they downloaded the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK and began developing creative applications and innovative uses in healthcare, education, art and so much more. Microsoft has recognized this phenomenon as "The Kinect Effect."
Marking the November 4th anniversary of Kinect, Xbox 360 today announced that the Kinect for Windows commercial program will be launched early next year. The commercial program will give businesses the tools to develop applications that not only could improve their own operations, but potentially revolutionize entire industries. To date, more than 200 businesses worldwide-including Toyota, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Razorfish- have joined a Kinect for Windows pilot program to begin exploring the possibilities of Kinect. While no one knows what the future holds, if the past year is any indication, it's going to be inspiring.