Kinect For Windows Launching February 1 (UPDATED)

Hackers may have been using the Xbox Kinect peripheral with their PCs for over a year now, but during its final CES Keynote, Microsoft top dog Steve Ballmer announced that the official Windows version will be launching on February 1.

There wasn't any dedicated Windows software for the Kinect announced, although with the Windows Store launching at about the same time, it doesn't take a genius to guess that we'll start seeing Kinect software roll out pretty quickly.

Pricing has been set at $US249, which is a premium of $US100 over the Xbox version. It's not exactly clear what difference there is in the hardware to warrant the price difference, although potentially a more accurate response would account for the pricing.

From the Microsoft Kinect for Windows page:

Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying version 1 software will be available on February 1, 2012 in 12 countries at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, support, and access to software updates for both speech and human tracking, based on Microsoft’s ongoing deep investment in NUI . Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing of $149 for Qualified Educational Users.

As with pretty much everything from CES, we're waiting on local pricing info and will let you know when we get it.

UPDATE: Microsoft has offered this justification for the $US100 price premium. Still no word on local pricing, but Aussies will get access to the device on Feb 1.

We love the innovation we have seen built using Kinect for Xbox 360 – this has been a source of inspiration and delight for us and compelled us to create a team dedicated to serving this opportunity. We are proud to bring technology priced in the tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago to the mainstream at extremely low consumer prices. And although Kinect for Windows is still value-priced for the technology, some will ask us why it isn’t the same price as Kinect for Xbox.

The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.

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