One of the best Kinect applications, Xbox Fitness, is shutting down.
Earlier today, the Xbox team announced plans to fully shut down Xbox Fitness by the end of June 2017. Before today’s announcement, the team has spent the past two years steadily releasing a myriad of workouts for gamers.
“… Microsoft has given much consideration to the reality updating the service regularly in order to sustain it,” said Xbox’s Erica Bell. “Therefore, the decision has been made to scale back our support for Xbox Fitness over the next year.”
Although the program’s closure probably won’t effect the vast majority of Xbox gamers, those who used Xbox Fitness and even purchased some of the in-game workouts might be left feeling a bit disappointed. In their full announcement, Xbox didn’t indicate if users who purchased content can expect refunds once the application fully shuts down next year.
The bigger take away from the closure of Xbox Fitness is the limbo Kinect is in. When Phil Spencer took over as the Xbox head in 2014, the company immediately released an Xbox One bundle without Kinect. This move is likely remembered by many as Xbox correcting its course from focusing on media back to gaming. Since then, less and less Kinect-specific games and indies have utilized the accessory.
With the announcement of Microsoft’s Siri-like Cortana being headset compatible last month and the Xbox One S on the horizon, Kinect’s place in the Xbox ecosystem will be threatened yet again.
For those who are out of the loop, the Xbox One S will feature a built-in IR blaster (arguably Kinect’s best feature) to power up all your devices at once. Additionally, the refined and “40 percent smaller” S will lack a proper Kinect port and Kinect fans will instead need an adapter (free to current Kinect owners) to utilize the accessory.
In an interview with Polygon, Xbox’s Game Marketing boss Aaron Greenberg said that losing the Kinect port was part of the size reduction process. If Kinect is something the company is willing to cut, it probably doesn’t have much of a future going forward.
What do you think about the closure of Xbox Fitness? Do you think Kinect games and features will be popular going forward? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter!