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Kinect Coming to Windows in February

Microsoft has revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that February will bring a new version of the Kinect motion tracking hardware that's built from the ground up to be Windows compatible.

1st February is the US launch date, though it's likely it will follow up with releases overseas soon afterwards. Unfortunately though, Microsoft did also say that the hardware would cost $100 more than the traditional Xbox Kinect, bringing the US price tag to $250. Expect it to be no less than £200 here.

"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 GM Craig Eisler explained.

Microsoft has previously released an SDK that allowed the use of an Xbox Kinect sensor with Windows, though it was a beta release only. The new version will support the Windows hardware only, though it will come with a new "near mode" which boasts the ability to detect details up to 50cm from the sensor.

Shacknews reports that the software giant will also release an academic version of the motion tracker a little later with a friendlier price tag of $150.

By simply having access to the beta SDK, many modders and hackers did some interesting stuff with the Kinect sensor. Some used it to make a light saber, others to control the operating system itself and a variety of other functions.