Kinect for Windows will cost $100 more than the 360 version when it comes out on February 1.
Microsoft revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show last night that the Kinect, the motion control system originally designed for the Xbox 360, will officially come to the PC on Feburary 1. It also revealed that the Windows version of the device will cost $249, $100 more than the regular price of the original 360 model that came out well over a year ago [and a lot more than that if you're poking around on Amazon].
You may be wondering why Microsoft is giving such a hefty bump to the price of a device that's already been kicking around for so long, especially since a number of individuals already have the 360 Kinect working on PCs. But Microsoft insists that it's still a solid deal at that price point, because the technology it uses cost "tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago." Besides, somebody has to pay for this stuff.
"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," Kinect for Windows General Manager Craig Eisler wrote on his blog. "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."
Kinect for Windows, however, will be a "hardware-only business model," meaning that Microsoft will give away the SDK and runtime software to anyone who wants it. The company is also investing in "scenarios beyond the living room," as the Windows version will be far less game-centric than its console cousin.
"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," Eisler wrote. "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."
I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I do know that the $250 price means that I won't be rushing out to grab one of these things on launch day. Not that I really see much of interest in the concept anyway, at least not at the consumer level; motion controls could serve well in commercial applications like self-serve kiosks or advertising displays, but the relatively cramped confines of the average PC setup don't strike me as an ideal place for flapping your arms around like an idiot.