Microsoft has admitted that it has ceased production of its motion-detecting Kinect peripheral for the Xbox games console, shifting its focus on the vastly more expensive HoloLens instead.
It comes despite Microsoft's effort to push Kinect onto customers when it first launched the Xbox One in November 2013.
But Kinect creator Alex Kipman and Xbox general manager Matthew Lapsen admitted to Fast Company this week that the company is bringing production of the peripheral to an end.
They said that while Microsoft will continue to support Kinect for existing customers on Xbox, it will produce no more units when retailers sell off their existing stock. Fast Company notes that support for ongoing developer tools remain unclear.
Oddly enough, the decision comes amid rumours that Apple is struggling with production of the iPhone X's Face ID sensor, which uses similar technology to the Microsoft peripheral.
Although its rapidly declining popularity is likely to blame for Kinect's end of life status, Microsoft hasn't elaborated much on its decision to kill-off the once-popular peripheral.
However, Golan Levin, director of the Studio for Creative Inquiry at CMU, told Fast Company: "Someone has made the decision that there aren't enough games being sold that use it and it's a shame.
"This is one of those times I'm sad to hear that a tool which is used for so many different applications, and is so ubiquitous, and has served crucially as a platform for so much creative experimentation, cultural progress, and secondary innovation, in so many different fields, isn't supporting their core business," he said.
Kinect, first known as 'Project Natal', made its debut in 2010 and was touted by Microsoft as the next revolution in gaming. Taking tips from the Nintendo's Wiimotes, the technology was able to track players' movements in order to enable more interactive gameplay on the Xbox 360, which proved particularly popular for dance and fitness-based titles.
Microsoft's first-generation Kinect is said to have sold 35 million units since it made its debut seven years ago, but popularity for the peripheral soon waned, despite the company's efforts to try and improve the sensor in the Xbox One.
Lapsen said: "When we introduced Xbox One, we designed it to have the best experience with the Kinect. That was our goal with the Xbox One launch. And like all product launches, you monitor that over time, you learn and adjust."
Moving forward, it looks as if Microsoft staffers who worked on Kinect have shifted their focus to HoloLens, which Kipman describes as being a natural step up from Kinect.
The 'mixed reality' headset went on sale to developers and businesses last year, although with pricing ranging between £2,719 and £4,529, it's a lot more expensive than Microsoft's £100 Xbox add-on.
Back in January, Microsoft told V3's sister site The Inquirer that the firm had only sold "thousands" of HoloLens headsets since it went on sale three months earlier in November.
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