Microsoft’s motion controller, Kinect, when shown at E3 2009 had an internal processor and a higher resolution camera. The model that will go on sale November 10th has removed the processor and uses a lower resolution camera.

The chip and the original camera that has been removed made it possible for the Kinect system to recognize the joints of the fingers and toes. This downgrade has meant the loss of Kinects ability to read sign language, and according to some developers and testers has also lowered its tracking performance. All the processing is now done with the main CPU of the Xbox. MS claims that it uses “less than one per cent” of the 360’s CPU capacity. TechRadar says 15%.

This could also explain why Kinect was supposed to track 8 Players, even while sitting down, and now is reduced to 2 active standing players and 2 sitting passive players.

The reason for the down grade is likely price. According to CVG, Kinect would have been sold for less than its production cost otherwise. Considering that the Wii has motion controls and is not sold at a loss I wonder why MS with all its financial and technological might can’t figure out how to make things efficiently and cheaply?

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