Kinect for Xbox One

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Kinect for Xbox One
Kinect logo.svg
Kinect for Xbox One
Developer Microsoft
Type Motion controller
Release date
  • NA: November 22, 2013
  • EU: November 22, 2013
  • BR: November 22, 2013
Platform Xbox One
Predecessor Kinect For Xbox 360

The Kinect sensor for Xbox One was upgraded in comparison to its predecessor for Xbox 360; this second-generation model was first distributed with all retail Xbox One bundles until June 2014, when Microsoft began to offer bundles excluding it. A standalone version of Kinect for Xbox One was released in September 2014.

As with the original Kinect, Kinect for Xbox One is a natural user interface device that can be utilized by the console's user interface and games, providing a motion controller system that uses an infrared array to detect the presence and motions of players, a speech recognition system, and a microphone and video camera that can be used to record and stream video footage. The new Kinect features improved motion tracking and voice recognition functionality over its predecessor, including a wider field of view, the addition of a high definition camera, the ability to track up to six bodies at once, and the ability to track a player's heart rate amongst other features.


Kinect on Xbox One features a number of changes in comparison to the first-generation, Xbox 360 version. The physical design of the new Kinect is aligned with that of the Xbox One console itself, with a more rectangular appearance, a two-toned matte-grey/glossy black color scheme, diagonal vents, and a white status light.[1] The new Kinect no longer contains a motor for automatic angle adjustment, and must be adjusted manually.[2]

As with the original Kinect, the sensor uses infrared to read its environment, but has greater accuracy over its predecessor, processing 2 gigabits of data per second. The device features a 512x424 pixel time-of-flight camera;[3] the new sensor has an increased field of view, reducing the amount of distance needed between the player and the sensor needed for optimal Kinect performance. In comparison to the 8 feet (2.4 m) minimum of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft recommended a minimum distance of 4 feet 6 inches (1.37 m). The new Kinect also includes a 1080p resolution video camera that can be used for video recording and chat, in comparison to the VGA resolution of the Xbox 360 version.[4]

Kinect for Xbox One can track up to 6 skeletons at once, read a player's heart rate, track gestures performed with an Xbox One Controller, and scan QR codes to redeem Xbox gift cards. The device features a four-microphone array, and can enable more extensive voice command support across the Xbox One system software than the Xbox 360 version. When the Xbox One console is in sleep mode, Kinect's microphone can remain active, so that it can reawaken the console with a voice command.[5][6][7][8] Motion gestures could be used to navigate the Xbox One dashboard interface; due to a lack of use, these features were removed as of the "new Xbox One Experience" update.[9]


Kinect was included with all retail Xbox One SKUs until June 2014, when Microsoft began to offer bundles that do not contain Kinect.[10][11] Microsoft stated the decision to offer Xbox One bundles without Kinect was to "[offer] a choice to people that would allow people to buy an Xbox One and then ramp up to Kinect when they can afford to", while also allowing games to use processing power that was previously reserved for Kinect.[12]

The standalone version of Kinect for Xbox One was released in October 2014, and is bundled with a digital copy of Dance Central Spotlight.[13]

The Xbox One S hardware revision no longer includes the proprietary port needed to connect the Kinect sensor to the console. Microsoft will distribute USB adapters to allow use of the device on these models.[14]

Kinect for Windows[edit]

A Windows-compatible version of the new Kinect, Kinect for Windows v2, was released on July 15, 2014 alongside the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0. It is intended for those developing Kinect-enabled software for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, and is optimized to operate at a closer range than the Xbox One version. Microsoft released a USB 3.0 adapter in October 2014 that allows the Xbox One version of Kinect to be attached to a PC; as such, the separate Kinect for Windows v2 product was discontinued in April 2015.[15][16][17]

The audio and voice recognition APIs in Windows 10's Universal Windows Platform supports Kinect's microphone array. Support for retrieving Kinect skeleton data will be introduced via a supplemental SDK and associated driver update for Kinect for Xbox One on Windows 10 "Redstone".[18]

Third-party development[edit]

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) signed up for the Kinect for Windows Developer program in November 2013 to use the new Kinect to manipulate a robotic arm in combination with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, creating "the most immersive interface" the unit had built to date.[19]


The Xbox One Kinect received mixed reviews. In its Xbox One review, Engadget praised Xbox One's Kinect functionality, such as face recognition login and improved motion tracking, but that whilst "magical", "every false positive or unrecognized [voice] command had us reaching for the controller."[20] Writing for, Matt Peckham described the device as being "chunky" in appearance, but that the facial recognition login feature was "creepy but equally sci-fi-future cool", and that the new voice recognition system was a "powerful, addictive way to navigate the console, and save for a few exceptions that seem to be smoothing out with use". However, its accuracy was found to be affected by background noise, and Peckham further noted that launching games using voice recognition required that the full title of the game be given rather than an abbreviated name that the console "ought to semantically understand", such as Forza Motorsport 5 rather than "Forza 5".[21]

Prior to Xbox One's launch, privacy concerns were raised over the new Kinect; critics showed concerns the device could be used for surveillance, stemming from the originally announced requirements that Xbox One's Kinect be plugged in at all times, plus the initial always-on DRM system that required the console to be connected to the internet to ensure continued functionality. Privacy advocates contended that the increased amount of data which could be collected with the new Kinect (such as a person's eye movements, heart rate, and mood) could be used for targeted advertising. Reports also surfaced regarding recent Microsoft patents involving Kinect, such as a DRM system based on detecting the number of viewers in a room, and tracking viewing habits by awarding achievements for watching television programs and advertising. While Microsoft stated that its privacy policy "prohibit[s] the collection, storage, or use of Kinect data for the purpose of advertising", critics did not rule out the possibility that these policies could be changed prior to the release of the console. Concerns were also raised that the device could also record conversations, as its microphone remains active at all times. In response to the criticism, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that users are "in control of when Kinect sensing is On, Off or Paused", will be provided with key privacy information and settings during the console's initial setup, and that user-generated content such as photos and videos "will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission."[22][23][24][25] Microsoft ultimately decided to reverse its decision to require Kinect usage on Xbox One, but the console still shipped with the device upon its launch in November 2013.[10]


  1. ^ "Microsoft explains the design of the Xbox One". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hands-on (and on camera) with Xbox One's new controller and Kinect". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ Bamji, Cyrus S.; O'Connor, Patrick; Elkhatib, Tamer; Mehta, Swati; Thompson, Barry; Prather, Lawrence A.; Snow, Dane; Akkaya, Onur Can; Daniel, Andy; Payne, Andrew D.; Perry, Travis; Fenton, Mike; Chan, Vei-Han (January 2015). "A 0.13 μm CMOS System-on-Chip for a 512 × 424 Time-of-Flight Image Sensor With Multi-Frequency Photo-Demodulation up to 130 MHz and 2 GS/s ADC". IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. 50 (1): 303–319. doi:10.1109/JSSC.2014.2364270. 
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  6. ^ Dave Tach (May 21, 2013). "Kinect is always listening on Xbox One, but privacy is a 'top priority' for Microsoft". Polygon. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Xbox One Kinect Will Scan Redemption Codes". IGN. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ Eddie Makuch (May 22, 2013). "Xbox One: Microsoft's Phil Spencer Talks Used Games, Always-On". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "New Xbox One Update Removes Kinect Gesture Support for Dashboard Navigation". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Xbox One no longer requires Kinect, but it'll still come in the box, and you'll still pay $500". ExtremeTech. Ziff Davis Media. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ Robinson, Andy (May 13, 2014). "Microsoft to release Xbox One without Kinect". Computer and Video Games. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ Crecente, Brian (May 9, 2014). "Microsoft: Dropping Kinect could free up extra processing power in Xbox One". Polygon. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Standalone Xbox One Kinect Launching October 7 for $150 With Dance Central". GameSpot. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Microsoft announces the Xbox One S, its smallest Xbox yet". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Emanuel Maiberg (July 6, 2014). "Microsoft Store Lists Kinect for Windows v2 for $200, July 15 Release Date". GameSpot. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Adapter kit allows Kinect for Xbox One sensors to work with Windows 8". ZDNet. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Microsoft no longer making Kinect for Windows sensors". ZDNet. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Kinect and UWP: new options in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update". Kinect for Windows Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  19. ^ Lee, Nicole. "NASA's JPL maneuvers a robot arm with Oculus Rift and Kinect 2, points to more immersive space missions". Web. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "Xbox One review: a fast and powerful work in progress". Engadget. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Peckham, Matt. "Xbox One Review: Microsoft's Ambitious One-Stop Shop". Time. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Privacy concerns threaten to overshadow Microsoft's new console". Polygon. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Microsoft may award achievements for watching TV and ads by monitoring you with Kinect". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Kinect on Xbox One will not record or upload your conversations, Microsoft says". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  25. ^ Will Greenwald (May 22, 2013). "Hello Xbox One, Goodbye Freedom". PC Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2013.