Microsoft is currently preparing an official Kinect SDK and driver support for Windows based PCs.
Microsoft revealed at CES earlier this month that the company has sold over 8 million Kinect sensors in just 60 days on the market. Microsoft’s Kinect sensor has been a phenomenal success story for the company. The console accessory sold out across a number of retailers during the recent festive season and Microsoft smashed its own estimates of 5 million units in 2010 by shipping 8 million devices.
Whilst Microsoft is shifting as many devices as it can, hackers are hard at work ripping apart Microsoft’s controller-less Xbox 360 accessory. Recent developments have shown off Minority Report style multitouch control and the Kinect running on Mac OS X. Microsoft said in November that it left the USB connection on the Kinect open, “by design.” Kinect “hackers” have recently taken the device to new heights. Videos emerged of device owners fully controlling Windows 7 and interactive prototype puppets. Kinect hacking is only at the very early stages but what’s clear is hackers are demonstrating the potential of the technology for use on PCs.
WinRumors understands that Microsoft officials are currently readying an official SDK and Kinect drivers for Windows. Microsoft is set to unveil driver support and an SDK in the coming months and will allow third-party developers to create titles that utilize the Kinect sensor when plugged into a PC. According to sources familiar with the plans, Microsoft will distribute the drivers under the “beta” tag. One source, who refused to be named, suggested that Microsoft is looking to incorporate the support into a forthcoming “Community Technical Preview” of the company’s XNA Game Studio tools. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, promised Kinect for PC during an interview at CES and confirmed the company would announce official support “in the right time.”
Microsoft is expected to integrate Kinect support into its next version of Windows. Microsoft recently purchased 3D gesture experts Canesta. Microsoft’s investment in this technology is likely to see them focus heavily on bringing gesture based control to Windows 8. In early 2010, a number of Windows 8 product slides leaked from a HP employee that pointed towards some new product features. Kinect integration, a Windows App Store and fast boot were all promised. Microsoft previously purchased 3DV systems, who also create gesture recognition technology. With the push for this technology in gaming, it’s only natural that Microsoft would also want to port this to Windows.