Microsoft today announced that the new Kinect for Windows PC hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries, at a suggested retail price of US $249.
The 12 countries where you’ll be able to get Kinect for PC are: United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later in 2012 Microsoft will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.
With Kinect for Xbox 360 selling fast, 18 million units the past year, it received a Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever.
Why is Kinect for PC ($249) more expensive than on Xbox 360 ($149)? Microsoft answers:
“The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.
With Kinect for Windows, we are investing in creating a platform that is optimized for scenarios beyond the living room, and delivering new software features on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode”. In addition to support for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview (desktop apps only), Kinect for Windows will also support gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems across manufacturing, retail and many more industries. We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable.”
Microsoft says that its commercial pilot program for Kinect on Windows has drawn interest from fields including healthcare, education, and art, receiving over 200 applications. Although it all sounds very heavily focused on creating programs that use Kinect, Microsoft will of course release many Kinect games for Windows as well!
This video shows how people are using the Kinect device in a broad range of areas beyond gaming. In the year since Microsoft launched Kinect for Xbox 360, its uses have expanded to include helping stroke victims recover and children learn new skills.