Microsoft's Kinect motion controller is almost four months old at this point and continues to sell well in spite of completely lackluster support (so far) from game developers. Xbox 360 owners can hope that the Game Developer's Conference next month will reveal some new Kinect-enabled games in the works. Until then, the really interesting work is being done by hackers.
Barely a day goes by that one of the game blogs out there doesn't reveal a new and interesting project cobbled together from Kinect, a PC and possibly any of a number of other controllers or devices. Kinect + Wii Remote, Kinect + iPhone, Kinect + robotic flying machine... there're all kinds of crazy and interesting projects being worked on. All this with no support form Microsoft.
So imagine how the flood gates will open when Microsoft starts to cooperate with the hackers. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is on record as saying Kinect on PC will eventually be officially supported but we didn't know when. As of yesterday the window (no pun intended) has narrowed considerably. At Microsoft's TechForum, Craig Mundie (MS Chief Research and Strategy Officer) and Don Mattrick (President, MS Interactive Entertainment Business) announced that a non-commercial Windows Kinect SDK will be released in Spring 2011, with a commercial SDK to follow later. A post at The Official Microsoft Blog has some of the details. Spring 2011 sounds pretty good, but March 2011 sounds even better, and that's what VentureBeat is reporting. VB doesn't source its date but TechForum is attended by a small number of journalists and we'll assume VB had someone at the scene of the announcement. It's a shame that Microsoft has let the Kinect more-or-less wallow in its smallish selection of launch titles for four months, but for those of us watching our Kinect sensors gather dust, the release of the SDK for Windows can only be good news. I can't wait to see what the indie game community does with this thing on Windows!