Microsoft's last-ever CES keynote took place last night, and Steve Ballmer enlisted the help of American Idol host and radio DJ Ryan Seacrest when it came to hosting the show. We've got a full breakdown of the keynote itself here, but probably the most notable piece of news to come out of it was the revelation that Kinect is finally making its way to the PC.
Microsoft last night announced that it would release Kinect for Windows just a few weeks from now. The new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1 in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The suggested retail price is perhaps a tad steep for some folks ($249 for the U.S., international pricing not yet announced), but Microsoft says that this high price is because the company can't bank on people buying Kinect games along with the peripheral, as was the case with the Xbox 360 version.
"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," Craig Eisler, General Manager of Kinect for Windows, said in a statement. "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."
The $249 price tag includes a one-year warranty as well as access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking. Microsoft also said that while it encourages all developers to "understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software," devs using the SDK and Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware can continue to do so in their development activities if they want to. However, non-commercial deployments utilizing Kinect for Xbox and previously allowed under the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software.
"Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do," said Eisler, adding that it would be extending the beta license until 2016. "Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016."