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Microsoft CEO Says Kinect To Support PCs Eventually

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the within-one-to-seventeen-years dept.

Input Devices 47

Ken writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that the company will support Kinect for PCs sometime in the future. The motion controller is currently only officially supported for the Xbox 360, although it has been hacked and tweaked to work on pretty much any platform that can be plugged into via a USB port. 'We're trying to move beyond gaming to include the world of socialization, movies, TV, music, and we're trying to make the whole experience accessible to everybody in the family not just the traditional gamer.' When Ballmer was asked, 'Will you plug-in the Kinect to the PC, will you go for that in the near future?' he replied, 'We'll support that in a formal way in the right time and when we've got an announcement to make we'll make it.' Note that this is completely separate from the Kinect-like controller from PrimeSense and Asus." Other readers have tipped related articles about Kinect being used to enable 3D teleconferencing and help drive a small helicopter drone.

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Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (4, Interesting)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833518)

As Kinect seems to be the new hot toy after WiiMote, it will be interesting to see how it ventures in terms of developed applications and research. I think Nintendo did a mistake by ignoring PC support for their gadget.

Re:Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833984)

Not really, Nintendo doesn't have any vested interest in the PC market(games and otherwise) like Microsoft does. The amount of money Nintendo makes off the wiimote isn't that large and the costs of PC support(drivers, support staff etc.) and the potential to cannibalize their own market outweigh what little money there is in selling a couple extra wiimotes.

Re:Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834040)

I thought it was interesting not from Nintendo's business perspective, but regarding the growth of multisensor-input-enabled applications and research, given that the price is at consumer hardware levels.

I might draw an extreme parallel here, but consider what happened to computer graphics for games and research when the first sort-of-programmable GPUs became supported and affordable (late 90's)

Re:Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835058)

The problem for the Wiimote is that it's just plain underpowered. Test it out with any small motions and you'll understand what I mean; Wii Sports Golf putting, for instance, is an exercise in frustration trying to get it to register for a simple tap-in putt without having it fling your ball halfway across the green instead. The same problem is also responsible for the troubles the wiimote has in recognizing when people have moved the controller for a backhand rather than forehand stroke in Wii Sports Tennis.

The motion sensors are simply not sensitive enough to register correctly, so they put an abnormally large "dead zone" calibration in as a cheap hack. Even the add-on pack with the extra sensors doesn't improve it to that great of an extent, and requires constant calibration (the whole "set your wiimote down on a flat surface... quick... no really do it now, we know you're handcuffed to it but you better have it flat NOW or fuck it you can play the next round with a miscalibrated controller" deal).

When Chris Hecker said the Wii is nothing more than two gamecubes stuck together with duct tape, he wasn't that far off. Of course, the larger problem for the Wii going forward is the fact that game designers with little experience in interface design seem to feel obliged to put in some nasty-stupid "ooh it has motion sensing" control element even when unjustified. Classic case: Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions. On the 360 and PS3 you have jump, jab, punch, and grab buttons. On the Wii you have jump, jab, grab, and... for a punch I have to shake the damn remote? Really? It's not just annoying, it's actually LESS playable, because you never know quite when "enough" shaking will be enough to activate the function you're looking for.

That being said, IF Microsoft can improve the sensitivity of the Kinect bar enough to reliably discern fingers, it might actually be interesting to see what a motion-to-mouse interface would be like with it. Wave, poke to click, pinch to select, etc... it could be done.

Re:Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834542)

The Wiimote is pretty lame as a pointing device, no precision whatsoever with the stock sensor bar or with a battery-operated Nyko one... and I have a couple different Wiimotes which have never been thrown so I don't believe it's a wiimote problem. I hear motionplus makes it more credible but then it's not so interesting as a remote. There's not enough buttons on the Wiimote to use for much more than a mouse, and it's not a good mouse. Kinect would be much more interesting to me, though. I would use gestures for some media player control if they didn't have to be retarded ones.

Re:Interesting to compare with WiiMote for PC (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836522)

I don't think so, there are plenty of open source projects that get your PC to work with the WiiMote, I think Nintendo played it right by not risking on that venture and letting the hobbyists tackle it. []

Standard strategy (1)

jace48 (566123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833530)

Inshort we will first make lots of money by selling kinect and when the sales figure will start dwindling we will release a pc version

Re:Standard strategy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833812)

Standard strategy: sell something and then sell more of it.

Thanks for the brilliant tip.

Official PC support will get software devs onboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833542)

But big deal? Aside from games, the Kinect is already being used and tested on applications it's useful for.

And I wouldn't say the Kinect is marketed towards the "traditional gamer". You're so silly, Ballmer.

Re:Official PC support will get software devs onbo (2)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834978)

The thing is they'd have to build a support infrastructure to support the PC world. Instructions for help staff, new menus in their IVRs, help files, etc. Application support is only a fraction of the work.

While all that may seem trivial on the surface, it's a ton of project management and detail work that takes a long time to pull together. They've done this before, so they know what it will take.


Minus Xbox = Win (for me) (1)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833598)

I don't know about you guys but I was considering buying a Kinect system and an Xbox but was deterred by the added price of the Xbox. If they end up putting out a reasonably-priced version for the PC, I'm definitely going to pick it up.

Re:Minus Xbox = Win (for me) (1)

inca34 (954872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833674)

Used Xbox 360's are $100. The Kinect is $150. Kinect sports is $50. That's really not too bad for first adopter access to first gen remote-less motion capture gaming. The sensor may also be the solution to the robot perception problem... and for $150 the sensor is quite reasonably priced compared to the industrial SICK LIDAR sensors, which haven't changed in 20 years, that go for $5k a pop and still use RS232 interfaces... =)

Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (4, Informative)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833640)

The people who "hacked" it didn't hack it they wrote drivers for it. Kudos to them its more than I could do but lets call it what it is, eh ?
Its not like they broke Xbox security and pulled code out of it, what they did was much better.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833750)

Hacked != Cracked.

Yes, there's a difference. It may only matter to the people who do it, rather than those who just talk about it, but they're the ones who matter.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834548)

If you're not modifying the device somehow (at least the onboard software) then you're not hacking it, just a driver.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835424)

So if I take apart my phone to put a blue led inside it's a hack, but If I write a complete operating system for it it's not a hack... you must be new here.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836488)

If you're not modifying the device somehow (at least the onboard software)

So if I take apart my phone to put a blue led inside it's a hack, but If I write a complete operating system for it it's not a hack... you must be new here.

you don't read so good, do you?

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835526)

Look it up on Wikipedia. Hacking [] refers to the re-configuring or re-programming of a system to function in ways not facilitated by the owner.

MS never provided functionality for the device to operate on the PC, but somebody programmed their own drivers for it to do so. You don't have to actually change the hardware or firmware of a device to "hack" it. All you have to do is be able to write code that interfaces with whatever you are hacking to provide new functionality.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836556)

Balderdash. Words change meaning and a cabal of elites can't ignore the tide of the rest of the world. Hacking has a dual meaning now, and "bypassing the security of a system by unusual, unsupported means" is one of those meanings.

Believe me, it annoys me as much as you. Did you know "nauseous" can now be used where "nauseated" property would? And that "irregardless" is a word?

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34843668)

Sounds to me like you got a little case of Humpty Dumpty syndrome.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34845576)

Hmm.. Looking back, I'm not sure what the hell I was talking about. I was referring to the nonsense distinction some nerds insist on making, pointedly, between "hacking" and "cracking". But your post didn't have anything to do with that.

Maybe I posted too soon after huffing from my crack pipe.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835532)

Writing the driver may not be hacking, but strapping it to an small helicopter to control flight is definitively an hack, in the sense of "making it do something which it was not designed to do".

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34835342)

Actually, when the people who talk about it are the ones, who, you know, talk about it, they should use the terms that people use when they talk, not some madeup term that nobody understands anymore and hasn't been relevant since the 1600s.

Re:Hacked != Independent Drivers Available. (2)

Ivan Stepaniuk (1569563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834580)

Currently, "hacker" is used in two main ways, one positive and one pejorative. It can be used in the computing community to describe a particularly brilliant programmer or technical expert (for example: Linus Torvalds). This is said by some to be the "correct" usage of the word (see the Jargon File definition below). However, in popular usage and in the media, it generally describes computer intruders or criminals. "Hacker" can be seen as a shibboleth, identifying those who use it in its positive sense as members of the computing community. You are assuming that only the second definition applies, however Slashdot is one of the places in which the first definition generally applies, not the second. Hacked = Independent drivers made available.

Someone needs to tell him about the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833642) source drivers. It's already working with PCs and Macs and goodness knows what else...

Re:Someone needs to tell him about the... (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833838)

Guess why they're even coming with this statement to begin with.

Re:Someone needs to tell him about the... (1)

HRH_H_Crab (1746502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833942)

Thats the point I don't get. The cat is out of the bag. They just make themselves look like asses. Wouldn't it be better to just keep quiet until you have something ready and then release it?

Re:Someone needs to tell him about the... (2)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833938)

Yeah, but will it run Linux?

eventually? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833658)

I thought this was already possible today. In fact, yesterday I stumbled across a demonstration of a lirc client [] for the Kinect.

Kinect, without MS (5, Informative)

Bitzer2 (1974422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833698)

It's coming to PC with or without Microsoft. Primesense, the company who actually own the technology have teamed up with Asus. []

Re:Kinect, without MS (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835430)

The problem for MS is how Kinnect figures into MS revenue stream. Kinnect was going to be used to lure new users or keep users on Xbox games. MS was going to make some profit on the hardware but stood to gain much more in licensing for Kinnect capable games.

Also the nature of Kinnect meant that the games would most likely be exclusive titles. Developers could develop the same game to use Kinnect or the Wii remote or the PS3 Move controller but it wouldn't be the same. By connecting the Kinnect to things other than the Xbox, MS stands not to make as much money. It's a bit short-sighted for MS but MS is afterall, a business.

Distance (3, Insightful)

Feinu (1956378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833820)

The recommended distance from the sensor is 6-8 feet. The average person sits within 3 feet of their screen. They definitely need to do some work to make it finger aware, because I can't imagine that people will want to back away that far from the computer just to use full body gestures.

Re:Distance (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833930)

No one is actually going to use Kinect and a keyboard/mouse at the same time.

Re:Distance (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834592)

I have a PC hooked up to my living room HDTV, you insensitive clod! I've found it the only reasonable way to watch netflix on a marginal connection.

Re:Distance (2)

Mr Stubby (1122233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834776)

you mean like this? [] The hardware is capable, just not implemented that way on xbox, it wont be so on PC.

XNA please (1)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833898)

I hope they move faster on [] XNA support for Kinect. This will not only let indie devs create kinect games using nothing more than a pc and an xbox on a lan, but will also let people deploy kinect games for both xbox and pc simultaneously with support for the kinect and windows kinect respectively.

Sweet (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834540)

Hands-free viruses!

Small living rooms (1)

dgriff (1263092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834650)

Never mind PCs, how about adding some support for small living rooms [] ? Here in the UK a lot of us just don't have the space required, something I wish I'd researched before buying it.

Re:Small living rooms (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834670)

It does say right on the box how much space it needs ...

Re:Small living rooms (3, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835074)

I've got a Kinect and have tried it in 5 different homes, with varying degrees of success. Actually, that's a little unfair; it's worked to an acceptable level in 4 of the 5, and been just about on the unacceptable side of the line in the 5th (though you could have used it if you were really determined).

The big issue seems to be room shape rather than room size. I have a small living room, but the TV looks down it length-ways, so it works fine for me. Unless you want to do 2-player (which I don't normally, at home), you don't actually need all that much room to move side to side. The really key thing is to be able to get those 6-8 feet from the TV; if you can do that and have the room to take at least one large step to the side in either direction, it's fine.

What you do need to get right is the lighting. The quality of the tracking seems to be highly dependant on the level of lighting in the room. I've found I get the best results by having an artificial light source behind me while I play; gives the thing a nice clear silhouette to watch. It also helps to have it as close to eye-level (or at least chest level) as possible. The advice to stick it below your TV is not great. I got much better results by putting it on a chest-height window-ledge next to the TV.

There is, however, still a major problem with using Kinect in many homes, which is related to the current games range rather than the hardware itself. A lot of the current games expect the player to jump - a lot. If you live in a flat or apartment, your downstairs neighbours will NOT appreciate you jumping up and down a lot. It would be really good if games could start recognising the "spring-motion" that Wii Fit recognises as a jump as an alternative. As I say, this is entirely a software issue; the hardware should be perfectly capable of allowing it.

Of course, aside from exercise software, I've yet to actually see anything come out of the Kinect - or any other motion control device - that actually helps lead to better games than a mouse and keyboard or 2-stick controller. That said, the exercise software is useful and I'll probably stick a Wii Fit vs Your Shape comparison in my journal at some point over the next few days, now I've had a few weeks to get used to Your Shape (tl;dr version - they're both good, both have strengths and weaknesses in different areas).

fancy webcam (1)

tkprit (8581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34835252)

Doubt Ballmer's talking about Kinect in anywhere near its current form. I'm thinking "fancy webcam" interface (not that that would be bad, except my general issue with Kinect is having MS in my living room at all.) And when he says "TV, movies, music", heh, I'm thinking DRMs. Maybe retinal scans to make sure you have the license to hear what you're listening to. So I'm not all that psyched yet, LOL!

Great, rolls eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836010)

Because I really want to reserve 8 feet of floor space to play interactive games on my 24" PC monitor or my 16" laptop.

Really, just because you CAN do something doesn't mean it should be done. I can't see how interactive motion control gaming will ever take hold on a PC as its just not used in the right environment 90% of the time. I can't even use Kinect in my living room because I do not have enough floor space, my home office is smaller.

Kinect is great, don't get me wrong, but as a PC controller its an epic fail unless they dramatically change the requirements. If I can sit in front of a PC monitor an wave my hands in front of it to control stuff, that is one thing, but don't expect me to get up and have to wiggle my whole body to browse the web or play Starcraft.

Also, is nobody seeing huge restrictions on the type of gaming you can play with Kinect. Party games and sport games are great but we have seen already from Nintendo that people get bored of that very quickly. Microsoft made a mistake in creating a motion controller that once again shun's hard core gaming in favour of casual family fair. Sony is about the only one that created a universal device that can be used in both cases.

Minority report (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836094)

I guess M$ stocks will rise again now that kinect is available to all pcs.

And first game release will be... (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836944)


this is not meant as insulting to anyone but (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34840824)

i wanna see how Kinect works on a PC for someone with Parkinsons or Tourrettes (the twitching kind not verbal kind). yeah and i had positive karma for almost 2 days

Fashion caps, sports jerseys (1)

hennyjack (1933170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34843890)

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Too much lag. (1)

triso (67491) | more than 3 years ago | (#34932616)

Unfortunately, there is too much lag on the Kinect for any serious gamer to use.

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