Kinect’s motion control tech coming to the PC

The Xbox 360’s new Kinect motion controller has all sorts of potential. Unfortunately, it also has some limitations, at least for now. Microsoft is still calibrating the system for seated play, and it hasn’t confirmed whether gamers will be forced to stand when the controller launches later this year.

At least Redmond has confirmed that Kinect’s "entertainment" controls, which are presumably based on simpler gestures confined to a user’s upper body, will work while lounging on the couch. Those entertainment controls are also coming to PCs and consumer electronics gear. PrimeSense, the company behind Kinect’s motion tracking, has revealed that the technology will make its way into home-theater PCs and set-top boxes next year. TVs are being targeted, as well, but no deals have been signed on that front yet.

PrimeSense is responsible for Kinect’s cameras and motion tracking, but the system’s voice recognition and tilt functionality belong to Microsoft, so they’ll remain exclusive to the Xbox controller. There are other ways to get voice recognition running on the PC, so that’s not much of a loss. Besides, simple gestures should be enough to control the majority of commonly used home-theater PC functions. A standard remote will likely be more efficient, but I quite like the idea of browsing program guides, photos, and other media with the flick of a wrist. Besides, it would be novel to bring new technology into my living room that could actually remove a remote rather than adding another one.

At the moment, it looks like PrimeSense’s PC ambitions are limited to pre-built systems. There’s no mention of the motion-tracking tech making its way into a peripheral that users would be able to plug into any PC, which is really a shame. Of course, Microsoft does make PC versions of its Xbox 360 controller. Perhaps there are plans for Kinect itself to make its way to the PC, hopefully with robust Windows Media Center integration and support for programmable gestures in tow.

Comments closed
    • Pax-UX
    • 9 years ago

    No one is talking about the practical issues of this device. Like where does the Kinect have to be place for it to work effectively? Must it be in front of the TV. How far away from the Kinect do you need to be for it to read you body. What type of lighting in the room is required, as it is a camera.

    If you look at the promo pictures everybody is loaded and lives in a massive house! What about people with limited space?

    I think this is going to be epic fail!

    • BaronMatrix
    • 9 years ago

    I’d think for the PC they’d add a pen. It would be great for a “virtual steering wheel” or joystick even both.

    It could even be used to enhance touch screens so you can have a real 3D environment on your desktop. It would jest require a distance algorithm where the “far wall” on your screen is where the Start Menu is. For that I wouldn’t mind shelling out for 3D glasses.

    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    So if you wave your fist at it, does it get off your lawn?

    • xtalentx
    • 9 years ago

    Stand while gaming!?!?! WTF Where do we live?? Russia?

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago


    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    It supports two players only, it costs $149 on top of an Xbox, and all the launch games are Sports, Party or Fitness games. How will people choose this over a Wii?

    But at least it’s not a blatant Wiimote clone like Move.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      Because I sure hate using my Mac mouse ripoff on my Windows computer, my PS2/Dreamcast controller ripoff on my Xbox 360, and the Xbox Live ripoff on my PS3 called PSN.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    It will come to pc, but Microsoft wont bring any games to it. (ie, GFWL)

    Hello third party!

    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    What happens if two people are in this thing’s field of view and they both want to watch different channels? Can it recognize the winner of a fist fight?

      • northreign
      • 9 years ago

      What happens when your talking and make a gesture that wasn’t for the cam?

        • BiffStroganoffsky
        • 9 years ago

        You mean like the movement of jiggly-bits while playing in the nude?

    • wingless
    • 9 years ago

    If this shows up for the PC, I will buy it.

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    My dad is really bad with remotes. I think if they made something that let him wave his arms to raise & lower volume, he’d pay out the nose.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      This I think is really the killer app for this hardware. Logitech is running TV ads that suggest their Harmony smart remote is the solution for non-technical users (grandparents, babysitter, etc). And those remotes cost $149 or more. Granted, some non-technical users might have a harder time with “wave your hand like this” than just pressing a well-labelled button, but it’s still a broad and interesting market (especially with the babyboomers getting old and nearsighted). Broader than gaming, at least.

      Digitial Trends’ otherwise-withering preview (linked in the shortbread a couple of days ago) conceded


        • dropshadow
        • 9 years ago

        along the same lines…mount this thing on a computer, and you get rid of the mouse. you could even virtualize a keyboard on screen. then computers become nothing but a black box with a camera.

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Typing on any kind of virtualized keyboard gets old really freaking fast. That wouldn’t be an option for anything but the most minimal of text entry.

          But it would be possible to do “minority report” style window-management and similar style operations — all the whizziness of the iPad but even whizzier.

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    Bring it on… I will buy it.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    cool, i want one.

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