​Goodbye, Xbox Fitness

And, maybe, goodbye Kinect

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Microsoft said farewell to a service you might not even be aware of.

Launched when the Xbox One first debuted, Xbox Fitness was part of an attempt to make the Xbox One a true all-in-one living room lifestyle product. Using the Kinect to track movement, the fitness hub offered (or, offers, for now) workouts from Jillian Michaels, P90X's Tony Horton, and Shaun T. The Kinect can pull off some fancy tricks with Fitness, including measuring estimated heart rate through its sensors as well as motion and force.

Microsoft announced that Xbox Fitness was beginning its "sunset phase" yesterday. What that means is no new content anymore for the Xbox One's official hub for fitness, and a slow shutdown of services from here until July 2017. Purchased content can still be used until June 30, 2017. And Xbox Box Live Gold members can still download workouts for free until December 15, 2016.

If this seems like odd timing considering fitness trackers are still on the rise, I'd say it indicates the Kinect's increasing irrelevance. The advanced camera, with its 3D depth-sensing functions and always-on microphones, was ahead of its time. But few Xbox One games or functions use Kinect anymore. The upcoming improved Xbox One S even removed the dedicated Kinect port.

Microsoft still has a heavy stake in fitness via its Health app, and the Microsoft Band. Neither ended up formally working directly with the Xbox One, but Xbox Fitness did sync with Health. Maybe it's time to reconsider just letting the Xbox One work directly with fitness bands. It's a shame, because the idea of interactive fitness videos was a good one. I just never used it, because I don't plug in my Kinect.