We knew that the updated Kinect hardware would eventually have a PC variant like its predecessor, but now we have a release date of July 15th and a price tag of $200.
Now the first thing on everyone’s mind is going to be, “Why is it $200 when it only took off $100 from the Kinect-less Xbox One? Why is there a $100 price difference?” We’ll have to take a look at a few different factors in order to determine why there is such a price difference. The Kinect for Windows v2 is hardware specifically designed to work with the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) and is actually required produce legal applications with the SDK.
The licensing mentioned is somewhat complicated. The Kinect for Windows Dev Center states that “The SDK, docs, and Toolkit are free, but the Kinect for Windows sensor must be purchased.” The Kinect for Windows SDK is free but requires the Kinect for Windows to legally use their software. So you are actually buying the license to use the “free” SDK when you purchase the new Kinect for Windows v2. This is a fun way for Microsoft to hide the cost of their SDK, tools, and licensing. The developer is asked to pay extra for the hardware in order to use their free software.
Now this still might not seem like a deal, but I am getting there. We don’t actually know the hardware cost of the new Kinect sensor, but IHS estimated that the Kinect added about $75 to the Bill of Materials (BOM) and manufacturing cost of the Xbox One during their teardown back in November. The original Xbox 360 Kinect sensor cost around $57 to make and retailed for $150.
Still not sounding like a deal huh? Well there was a problem with those last numbers. Those were the costs associated with the Xbox versions of the Kinect 1 and 2. The Kinect for Winodws v1 sensor debuted for $250 retail and is still that price today. Some retailers are marking them down to around $220, but the all new sensor starts out at $200 before any specials.
In short, you save $50 buy purchasing the brand new Kinect for Windows v2 instead of its predecessor. That’s about it. It’s a small incentive to new developers to pick up the new hardware instead of the old. Well maybe we’ll see some upgraded Kinect drones in the near future at least. You can preorder the new Kinect sensor on the Microsoft Store and is scheduled for release on July 15th, 2014.