Kinect for Xbox One will be incompatible with PCs

If you’re buying an Xbox One this fall, don’t get any ideas about using the included Kinect motion controller on your PC.

Microsoft told Ars Technica that the Xbox One version of Kinect will only work with the game console through the use of a special adapter. A PC version of Kinect with USB output is coming later this year, but Microsoft hasn’t announced a price or release date.

When Microsoft released the original Kinect for Xbox 360 in 2010, the company inadvertently created a booming motion-control platform for hackers. Although Microsoft originally frowned upon the hacking, eventually the company warmed to the idea.

Later, Microsoft began selling a PC version of Kinect, but at a much higher price of $250, compared to $100 for the Xbox 360 version. At the time, Microsoft said that it subsidized the price of the console version, knowing that it would make money back on sales of games, Xbox Live subscriptions and other content. PC users don’t provide that same revenue stream.

New Kinect included with each Xbox One

The situation will be different with the second-generation Kinect. Instead of being sold on its own, the motion controller will be included with every console, and must be plugged in for the Xbox One to function.

Even without the special adapter, there’s little chance of people using the Xbox One’s Kinect as a cheap alternative to the PC version, unless they’ve purchased the console for personal use already. And in that case, they’d still need to fashion some kind of USB adapter to make it work.

Xbox One with Kinect (above) and controller

Even so, Microsoft isn’t taking any chances. The company cautions that the Xbox One version isn’t being built for or tested with a PC, it won’t have the same developer tools , and it won’t be licensed for commercial use.

Bottom line: If you want to use the next version of Kinect on a PC, you’ll have to shell out for the (likely) more expensive Windows version—after all, Microsoft recently priced the developer version at $400.

But since Microsoft isn’t really aiming that version at consumers anyway, you might better off with a cheaper PC motion controller, like the upcoming Leap Motion.

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