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Xbox Kinect is a device for Xbox consoles outfitted with a webcam-style camera which allows players to play games using their bodies as the controller. While the Kinect powered some viral art pieces on YouTube, in gaming, the device was notorious for technical limitations, which led to several popular YouTube videos in which people attempted to play Kinect games with frustrating results. The device was discontinued in October of 2017.
The Kinect was first announced at E3 2009 under the name "Project Natal." It was released in North America on November 4th, 2010 for the Xbox 360. It was initially well-received by critics for its appeal to casual gamers, as well as voice-command technology that predated functions like Siri and Amazon Echo. Still, critics noted its hefty price tag of $149.99 and spatial requirements were knocks against it. Launch games for the Kinect focused on the active potential of the gadget, including games such as The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, Dance Central, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports (trailer shown below), and more. Kinect won T3's "Gadget of the Year" prize in 2011.
Kinect was made compatible with Microsoft Windows in February of 2012. Kinect 2.0 was released with the Xbox One on November 22nd, 2013, and the Xbox One initially required Kinect usage. The 2.0 Kinect included facial recognition and voice commands, which some reviewers called a "creepy" experience. Users voiced privacy concerns about the Kinect's features as well, as users noted that the Kinect's facial recognition and voice commands could be used for surveillance. Eventually, Microsoft reversed their decision to require Kinect usage with the Xbox One.
In gaming, the Kinect often frustrated players with its inconsistent body recognition and limited gameplay. For example, On October 2nd, 2011, Super Best Friends Play uploaded a video of themselves playing Rise of Nightmares, a horror game Kinect game for the Xbox 360, and experienced frustration with the controls. The video gained over 1.1 million views (shown below, left). In one of his more popular reviews, uploaded May 1st, 2012, Jontron reviewed Star Wars Kinect (shown below). The review gained over 7.4 million views in five years (shown below, right) and features a memorable clip of the game where the Star Wars character Han Solo dances to an electronic pop song.
In September of 2015, Microsoft released an advertisement for the Kinect showcasing its artistic potential, using dance captured by the Kinect motion-captured to create visual art (shown below).
On October 25th, 2017, Microsoft told Fastcodesign that they would cease the production of the Kinect. Several other news outlets confirmed the story within a day including GamesRadar, The Verge, Ars Technica and many more.
 Wikipedia – List of Kinect Games for the Xbox 360
 Fastcodesign – Exclusive: Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect
 Games Radar – Goodbye, Kinect: Microsoft officially ends manufacturing for the Xbox One sensor
 The Verge – Microsoft kills off Kinect, stops manufacturing it
 ARS Technica – Microsoft has stopped making the Kinect, and that makes me sad
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Oct 25, 2017 at 02:47PM EDT
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