The new Kinect sensor included with every Xbox One console will not work with Windows PCs, Microsoft has revealed.
Microsoft has confirmed it will officially release the new 'Kinect for Windows' in 2014, along with an official SDK (software development kit). But unlike the original Kinect for Xbox 360, which was fully interoperable with Windows PCs via official driver and SDK support, the next-generation Xbox One Kinect will be totally incompatible with the PC.
"The Kinect for Xbox One sensor will not have an adapter that allows it to plug into a computer," a Microsoft spokesperson has told Ars.
"The new generation Kinect for Windows sensor will connect to computers using a standard USB3 port," they explained, while the Xbox One Kinect will use a proprietary connection that plugs into the back of the console.
But the limitation is due to more than just Microsoft's choice of connector, according to the rep. Despite the devices being "built on a shared set of technologies", they won't necessarily be identical, they explained.
"The new generation Kinect for Windows sensor will be a fully tested, licensed, and supported Kinect experience on Windows," said the rep. "Kinect for Xbox One is being built for and tested with the Xbox One."
This means that PC built with the soon-to-be-released 'Kinect for Windows' SDK will only cater to consumers who buy the purpose-built Kinect for Windows sensor.
This will come as an unpleasant shock to developers who may have been intent on creating new-Kinect-compatible PC software in the assumption that the inevitably millions of Xbox One owners would be among their potential user base.
Should hackers and hardware engineers fabricate an unofficial method of using the Xbox One Kinect with a PC (which, it's safe to say, would seem likely), Microsoft points out that the Xbox One Kinect "is not licensed for commercial use, supported, or under warranty when used on any other platform, including Windows."