In a U-turn so big it could probably be seen from space, Microsoft last night announced the release of a Kinect developers’ kit that brings support for the popular Xbox 360 peripheral to the PC.
The move comes as something of a surprise, given that only last month Microsoft categorically stated that 'there are no plans to take it anywhere beyond the Xbox 360 platform.
The decision could well be a result of the large homebrew scene that has cropped up around Kinect, which Microsoft doesn't seem able to curtail.
The controller has been put to a myriad of uses by the hacking community, with everything from educational augmented reality programs
to bizarre 3D painting games
Microsoft has been a little coy about how it will be releasing the SDK, however. The announcement from Microsoft Research is titled 'Academics, Enthusiasts to Get Kinect SDK,'
implying that it's only going to be available for select groups of people, rather than offered up as a free-for-all download on its website.
What's clear from the statement, though, is that the version to be released this spring is only seen by Microsoft as a 'starter kit,
' with a full commercial version planned for a later date. We’re not entirely sure what the commercial version of the SDK will add apart from a price tag, though, as Microsoft states that the starter kit will come complete with ‘access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor.
Are you a part of the Kinect homebrew scene? Does the idea of being able to use the controller on your PC excite you? Let us know your thoughts in the forums