In what is undeniably a surprise move, Microsoft has partnered with Sky to bring a Kinect-like set-top camera with a lot of the Xbox One Kinect’s functionality to the company’s new line of smart Sky Glass TVs that were announced this morning.
The smart camera doesn’t have a name yet but it’s set for release in 2022, boasts a 4K camera, and looks and works remarkably similar to the Xbox One Kinect.
Much like the Kinect on Xbox One, the Sky Glass TV camera can be used to video chat with others, control the TV UI with voice and motion controls, and play video games such as Fruit Ninja (which incidentally was also available on Xbox One.)
The Sky Glass TV camera even seems to have its own motion-tracking fitness program which looks remarkably like Xbox One’s underappreciated Xbox Fitness app. Xbox Fitness used the Kinect to rate individual body part positions and detect heartrates to improve workouts and compete with friends.
Microsoft’s Xbox One console launched with strong support for the Kinect but the company gradually removed features over the years that followed, leaving just basic voice commands and Kinect video game support by the time the console generation reached its end.
When the Xbox One S and X consoles came out, a special adapter was required to connect the Kinect sensor while the current gen Xbox Series X and S don’t even support the adapter or Kinect games at all even though both have a USB port and use the same operating system.
The dropping of support for Kinect created a rather big pushback from console owners at the time who felt as if Microsoft has deceived them.
It’s definitely interesting to see a different company release a product with the Kinect-like functionality being so central to its marketing. One can’t help but imagine how ironic it would be if Sky eventually released a Sky Glass app for Xbox consoles that supported their new smart camera via the Xbox Series X’s USB port.