Whether you think depth-sensing cameras will become the next big thing or fizzle out, one of the models that helped usher in the tech is set to be retired for good. The original Kinect for Windows will be phased out in 2015, nearly three years after Microsoft first introduced it. The sensor (which is nearly identical to the Xbox 360 model) was controversial with gamers from the get-go, but was embraced by the DIY hacking community and companies who used it for facial and motion tracking, among (many) other uses. Plenty of those folks still rely on the Kinect v1 for Windows, so Microsoft advised them to buy as many as they need, and soon, since it won't make any more after the current stock sells out. However, Microsoft will continue selling the Kinect v1 for the Xbox 360 online and in the Microsoft Store for the foreseeable future.
The next-gen Kinect v2 became a non-optional part of the Xbox One console, but many gamers didn't use it and didn't want to pay for it. As a result, Microsoft now offers a cheaper Xbox One version without it, a move that boosted sales of late. As expected, it has also introduced a new $199 Kinect for Windows, along with a $50 adapter that allows you to use an Xbox One Kinect on your PC. While its demise is not unexpected, we still feel a bit nostalgic about the original Kinect for Windows -- to see some of the more bizarre things done with it, check the video below.
Update: As Microsoft pointed out, the Kinect v1 for the Xbox 360 will continue to be available, presumably as long as the Xbox 360 is for sale. We've updated the article and headline to clarify that it's only the original Kinect v1 for Windows that will be discontinued next year.