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Microsoft prepping Kinect drivers, SDK for Windows?

A report from WinRumors says Microsoft is preparing drivers and a SDK for developers to create software that lets Kinect motion sensor work with Windows-based PCs.

Microsoft's Kinect
Microsoft's Kinect Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Microsoft is reportedly putting together drivers and a software development kit that would allow its Kinect motion sensor to work with Windows, according to WinRumors.

Citing the usual sources familiar with the situation, WinRumors says the drivers and SDK would give third-party developers the ability to create software titles that can use a Kinect plugged directly into a Windows PC.

Since its official launch last November, the Kinect has proven fertile ground for developers and hackers eager to stretch it beyond its Xbox 360 roots. People clever enough to write their own drivers have already been tinkering with the product, pushing it to work with PCs and other devices.

Microsoft initially reacted negatively to these "hacks" but then seemed to warm up to the idea, explaining that the Kinect was designed to be an open platform. Still, the company would certainly prefer that developers use official drivers and SDKs, so it makes sense that these would be in the works.

At this month's CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was directly asked whether the company would allow the ability to plug a Kinect into a PC. Though his response was vague on timing, Ballmer did say that Microsoft would formally support this at the right time.

Rumors about Windows 8 that trickled out in December say the new OS would focus on PC gaming as a key component. Combine that with Microsoft's recent move to buy gesture control maker Canesta, and WinRumors believes Kinect integration will be directly supported in the next generation of Windows.

Microsoft declined to comment on WinRumors' report.