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In November 2012 we announced the date of the retirement of Messenger integration in Video Kinect. On March 11th, 2013 Video Kinect received a title update that removed Messenger integration from this title. This is a part of the larger overall Messenger plan announced last fall. Video Kinect will still allow two Xbox consoles to video chat with each other which is the majority of the usage.
Today marks the official release of Xbox Kinect. Once you have had a chance to play some games on your new Kinect and want to take a break, you should take a minute to check out one feature that you may not have noticed yet, Video Kinect. Video Kinect allows people to video chat with their friends, using the Kinect camera, on their TV. Of course you can chat with your friends on Xbox Live who also have a Kinect, but the really interesting part is that you can also chat with anyone who has a computer with a webcam, using Windows Live Messenger.
All you have to do is link your Xbox Live Gamertag to the Windows Live ID that you use for Messenger, sign in on the console and you’re good to go. Video Kinect is accessible through the Kinect Hub in the Xbox Dashboard, so just wave your hand and swipe through to find it and launch, then hover over any of your friends to start a video chat. When looking through your contacts on Kinect, your Messenger friends show up just like your Xbox Live friends do. When you start the chat with one of them, they will see a Messenger notification on their PC, asking if they want to start a video chat with you.
Once your friend accepts, the experience for them is exactly the same as any other video chat. They can still resize the window, make it full screen, and IM with other people. On the Xbox side, it appears exactly as if you had started a video chat with an Xbox Live friend, except your friend doesn’t need to have a Kinect or even an Xbox, just a PC! As you chat, you can also move around your living room and Kinect’s smart cameras will follow you as you move to always keep you in frame. Even if more people want to chat, the cameras will reframe so that everyone is included.
You can see how this could be hugely powerful in a variety of situations. Whether they’re connecting a wife and kids with the father of the family, while he’s away on a business trip or helping a boyfriend and girlfriend, make a long distance relationship work, Video Kinect and Windows Live Messenger help you to stay in touch with the people that you care about most in a very intimate way. We’re taking the experience of video calling, which is already widespread on computers across the world, and bringing it to the living room.
To see how Video Kinect and Windows Live Messenger work together, check out this video that I made, along with Jordan Gurrieri from the Messenger team.
*Note: Xbox Live Gold Subscription required for Video Kinect
The Kinect camera system is amazing...love how it tracks and pans out when there is another person in vicinity. I'm think of getting my parents, who live out of state, a 4GB XBox / Kinect system just so they we can stay in touch. A couple of questions...
1. Can we share/view photo albums in the Video Kinect session? ex. vacation photos stored on local network (Windows Home Server) or on SkyDrive.
2. If you are on U-Verse and using XBox as a U-Verse settop box...will you see Messenger notifications on top of the U-Verse UI.
3. If you are watching over the air TV but always keep the XBox turned on (just not displaying that source on TV)..is there some sort of audible or visual on XBox/Kinect to indicate someone is trying to reach you?
4. How durable is the camera motor mechanism?
...one additional question.
5. If you are using XBox's Media Center interface, will you see Messenger notifications on top of Media Center UI?
@JohnCz. Hopefully I can address most of your questions here.
1. We don't currently support sharing photos in a Video Kinect chat.
2. Not sure on this one. If you have a U-Verse box, give it a shot and let us know!
3. The indication for an incoming call on the Xbox is the same as a message notification. If your audio is set to the Xbox source, you would hear the notification sound.
4. I'm not on the Kinect team, so it's a little harder for me to speak to this, but in my experience it seems to be pretty durable as long as you keep it setup correctly below or above your TV.
Great post, Harrison. You may have just given me a great reason to get an Xbox 360 with Kinect. I run multiple PC-based Media Centers in my home, but this is a truly unique experience. I think it goes a long way towards evolving Xbox from just a rich gaming toy to a truly web-connected media tool that has something for the entire family. Bravo!
Thank you Harrison, I really appreciate your answers.
I'm super excited to hear that Messenger notifications are superposed over XBox's Media Center Extender UI (#5). This is the route I will go, instead of Media Center PCs next to each TV... I will have one central Media Center PC and use a couple of XBoxes.
#2, I don't have U-Verse either but I would be surprised if Messenger notifications didn't work there like they do with Media Center.
#1 - Sharing Photo Albums, well I guess the good news is that there are all sorts of content sharing scenarios you can light up in the future.
Also, hoping the team working on Media Center (on XBox) is seriously looking to Kinectify that experience.
I got my Kinect yesterday, and the video chat was easily the one thing that blew me away. Top notch technology at work here! But more importantly is your detailed and very simple video explanation of how it works. I work on pc's and tutor people for a living Harrison. So when someone sees one of those MS commercials that shows you how to do cool stuff, it all happens a little fast. What they REALLY need to do on those commercials, is have a little screen come up at the end that refers to a web link that SHOWS you how to do stuff, start to finish. NIce post, MS NEEDS to implement this type of hand holding for the CONSUMER!!! LET PEOPLE KNOW HOW IT WORKS, NOT JUST THAT IT WORKS!
I love the video and chat works but what I was seeing on the videos and real life this is not as fast, I get very choppy video and grainey ? is there something that I'm doing wrong ? I have the new slim and no power cord ?
@Mark What you see on the video is all live. There's no trickery there, so it definitely should work smoothly like that. Maybe you're seeing some choppiness because of your internet connection. If you're doing WiFi, maybe try plugging the Xbox in with an ethernet cable and see if that makes it better.
Noticed locally and in your video that the video quality of Kinect is pretty awful. I've also seen a lot of complaints about the photo / video quality of Kinect in various forums and reviews. Do you think sw updates will improve this? Even small movements seem to result in nauseating ghosting.
I tried using Video Kinect with my Kinect to someone who has an XBox as well but with the older camera and headset, however they couldn't hear me. Does it require that my account be signed into Live Messenger on the XBox also or just being signed into my Profile with a gold subscription? I typically don't sign into my Live Messenger on the XBox.
Lighting is key for web cams. A bight light in the background or foreground makes all the difference. Try that.
how can i video chat with my wife if im using the kinect and she has a pc?
@Dmonz89 On your wife's end, install Windows Live Messenger 2011 (http://download.live.com) and on your end, make sure that you have an Xbox Live Gold account setup on your Xbox with Kinect. Then, just add each other as friends on Messenger, sign in on Messenger in both places (Messenger and Video Kinect) and you should be good to chat!
help me i want to talk with on video kinect but i don't know how1
So how much will this cost me? See I run a non profit organisation,I really only want services that should be automatically available to ever living soul on this planet. I'm tired of having to prove my credentials as a microsoft partner. My family come from a long line of teachers. I do not get paid to teach,its a joy,I will give my last breath if someone asks for it. Thank God I met Jimmy,or I'd be just another lost starlet.but,really,I;m tired of having to constantly fix pc's,so I can just use simple applications,that come with windows. I have purchased so many fix it programs,its really ridiculous. I'm just trying to burn a dvd,which I could do,now the thing won't even read. I tried the fix it center,thats why i'm here.
Can I Video Kinect with someone signed into WLM11 who has used their Yahoo account to login?
This is no longer true. Microsoft is removing the Video Kinect to PC functionality: forums.xbox.com/.../509047.aspx
jalrnc - we updated the top of this blog post with support information a few weeks ago.
Brandon LeBlanc -- that's such a shame. We've used Video Kinect to chat with my daughter's grandparents and aunts for the past couple years. With your campaign promoting the simplicity and functionality of Windows, I were hoping to see you expand Xbox Skype/Video Kinect to tablets, mobile & PC rather than limiting it. Please pass along a strong request to add that back in with the next patch.