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