Thursday, June 27, 2013

Microsoft announces second-gen Kinect for Windows developer program

Microsoft's Build 2013 began on Wednesday, and with it, the keynote. Among the things unveiled will come as a welcome announcement for Windows video game developers: A pre-release version of the upgraded Kinect for Windows peripheral, which was announced at the Xbox One launch event in May, will soon be available.

The price won't be cheap, though: $399. It includes, not just a pre-release second-generation version of the new Kinect, which includes an improved sensor set and microphone array, but early access to a new SDK, and the final device when it's ready.

The full list of benefits for those who are accepted to the program is:
  • Direct access to the Kinect for Windows engineering team via a private forum and exclusive webcasts
  • Early SDK access (alpha, beta, and any updates along the way to release)
  • Private access to all API and sample documentation
  • A pre-release/alpha sensor
  • A final, released sensor at launch
There is a caveat, however. Developers are able to sign up for the program, as of now. The program itself does not launch until November, according to Microsoft's sign-up page. In addition, signing up doesn't mean you'll get a kit.

There are only a limited number of slots in the program, so what developers can do is apply to be included. Applications close on July 31, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific Time). Microsoft will then make the choice as to who does -- and does not -- receive a kit.

Additionally, the new SDK, version 1.8, will include a host of new functionality, Microsoft said. It will support faster Kinect Fusion scanning with better color capture, real-time background removal (which allows a developer to isolate a person from their surroundings), and the ability to create Kinect for Windows apps using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Microsoft will begin notifying successful applicants in August. The SDK will be released in September. The program begins in November.

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