Microsoft Game Studios head Don Mattrick confirmed today that Microsft will begin sending developers PC development kits for the Kinect next month. According to VG247, this kit will allow external developers a chance to begin working on Kinect applications and games to be released for the Windows 7 platform sometime in the future.
As VG247 has it, this software will only work for Windows 7.
Microsoft is giving in to what the community has already been doing through improvisions and hacks since the Kinect first launched. The most interesting things coming from the Kinect have not been the 360 games themselves, they’ve been the really interesting efforts done for the Kinect by individual programmers, hackers and developers.
It seems that the big MS gets that and is going to open their device up for perfectly profitable exploration. Did anyone at the company really think that the Kinect would be so useful and well respected outside of the world of games? Admittedly, it’s not quite there yet, but this news that the company is open and supportive of external development for the PC is absolutely huge.
The software kit that’s heading out to developers next month will only be for non-commercial use. Consider it an exploration in open source and learning. Microsoft did, however, confirm that commercial opportunities with the kit will come up at a later date.
According to the company, the Kinect has already sold more than 8 million units as of January 6th, 2011. Open the hardware’s functionality up to far more than just games and dashboard navigation on the Xbox 360 and Microsoft may be looking at another massive jump in sales.
As far as I’m concerned, anything that takes my current computing habits and brings them closer to those found in Minority Report is awesome. Should it replace everyday computer tasks? No. But it’ll still be cool.