No More Stupid People Tricks: Microsoft Kills Off Kinect

Microsoft has killed off its motion-sensing Kinect – a camera-based gadget tied in with the tech giant’s consumer Xbox gaming boxes.

The news kinda sorta vaguely matters in digital signage because there are jobs, here and there, that have used Kinects as the engine for their interactive experiences – asking poor slobs to flap their arms or wave or whatever to get the damn thing on the screen to respond. Mostly, they’ve been a showcase for stupid people tricks.

As TheNextWeb notes in its report, the platform was not heavily embraced by gamers because you might spend as much time learning how to play as actually playing. I’ve seen lots of trade show eye candy in booths peddling gesture as the way to move things on a screen, when it was obvious to anyone who’d register on a brain scan that just walking up and poking at a touch screen or peripheral button made exponentially more sense.

Many, many times I have seen Kinect-based “experiences” in sports stores that were hung up or unused … the retailer or brand assuming/hoping store staff would give the things a kick in the hardware pants to reboot them when they stalled out.

The TNW report does make the good point that Kinect has been widely used for research and things like 3D scanning.

My gut tells me that while there is some very specific intellectual property around what a Kinect does, there are other sensors out there. But because they are not likely part of a mass-produced consumer platform, the price point might not be as attractive as a Kinect. Intel has a 3D depth sensor called the RealSense, for example.

I’m sure there have been good uses in digital signage for Kinect, but by and large they have been novelty tech in this space that won’t be all that missed.