During the final CES Keynote for Microsoft on Monday it was announced that Kinect for Windows will be released on 01 February 2012.   This was one of the rare tidbits that we had not heard about before so it was nice to get a surprise during the keynote.

Well within a few hours another piece of information was made available by means of a post to the Kinect for Windows MSDN blog.  The post, authored by Craig Eisler the General Manager for the Kinect for Windows team, revealed the retail pricing plan for the new device.

Today, we are announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249.

Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors.

The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements.

Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.

Craig goes on to explain why the cost of the Windows version of Kinect is so much higher than the retail price of the Xbox 360 version ($149):

The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.

He also confirmed the Kinect for Windows program is a hardware only program and that we will not be seeing a slew of software released by Microsoft for the platform:

We have chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows, which means that we will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime; these will be available free to developers and end-users respectively. As an independent developer, IT manager, systems integrator, or ISV, you can innovate with confidence knowing that you will not pay license fees for the Kinect for Windows software or the ongoing software updates, and the Kinect for Windows hardware you and your customers use is supported by Microsoft.

Amazon.com already has a pre-order page up and running for the new device. I wonder how much the price point of $249 will keep people away from the device for Windows?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.