Microsoft has ended production of the Kinect Adapter, the USB accessory that is required to connect the Xbox One Kinect sensor to an Xbox One S, Xbox One X or Windows device, the company confirmed to Polygon today.
“After careful consideration, we decided to stop manufacturing the Xbox Kinect Adapter to focus attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming accessories across Xbox One and Windows 10,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon. As for any plans to bring back the item in the future, the representative declined to discuss Microsoft’s product roadmap, but said the adapter “will no longer be available.”
This appears to mark the end of support for Kinect on Xbox One. The writing was on the wall in 2016, when Microsoft launched the Xbox One S without the proprietary port necessary to hook up the Kinect directly to the console. The voice-enabled camera peripheral can be plugged into a USB port on a PC, Xbox One S or Xbox One X, but only via the Kinect Adapter.
For eight months following the debut of the Xbox One S, Microsoft offered the adapter free to Kinect-owning customers who were upgrading from an Xbox One to an Xbox One S. The company shut down that promotion in March 2017, and did not bring back the offer when it launched the Xbox One X last November. When Microsoft confirmed the end of the deal to Polygon in April 2017, it noted that “the adapter is available for purchase” for $39.99. As annoying as that extra cost might have been to consumers, it meant that people at least had an option if they wanted to use a Kinect with an Xbox One S or Xbox One X.
But the Kinect Adapter has now been out of stock for months at the Microsoft Store and retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop, fueling speculation that the company has discontinued the item. In fact, if you search for “Kinect” on the Microsoft Store website, the adapter doesn’t even show up in the results anymore; we were only able to access the sold-out product listing from an old link.
Because the Kinect Adapter has been so hard to find lately, it’s fetching exorbitant prices on the secondary market. Third-party sellers on Amazon are charging about $300 for a new item — 7.5 times the retail price of the accessory, and more than the cost of an Xbox One S — while used adapters on eBay have gone for hundreds of dollars in recent weeks. This has produced a rash of one-star reviews on the Kinect Adapter’s out-of-stock Microsoft Store listing, with customers raging in disbelief that they have to buy the device in the first place and in frustration that they can’t do so at a reasonable cost.
Without a Kinect, of course, you won’t be able to play any Xbox One games that require the sensor. This is perhaps why Microsoft re-released some first-party Kinect titles without Kinect features, including Disneyland Adventures, Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure and Zoo Tycoon, for the Xbox One X launch. The Xbox One dashboard hasn’t supported Kinect-based gesture controls since November 2015.
Voice navigation and Cortana functionality do not require Kinect; except for “hey Cortana, Xbox on,” all commands will work with a simple headset microphone. And a Microsoft rep noted to Polygon today that the company added support for USB webcams to the Xbox One last October, enabling those cameras to be used for features such as Mixer livestreaming and Skype video chat.
As for the Xbox One Kinect itself, Microsoft announced in October 2017 that it had ended production of the peripheral. At the time, the company said in a statement to Polygon that “it is not the end of the journey for the technology” because, in part, “Kinect continues to delight tens of millions of Xbox owners.” Today, however, Microsoft has fully closed the door to the possibility of new Kinect users.