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Common issues with Xbox One Kinect

For existing Xbox One Kinect users

This page is aimed at users wishing to buy a Kinect, or have an Xbox One Kinect, but no adapter. Unless you use a headset and/or controllers that use base stations, you can make it work, even if it won’t be as good as with the Xbox 360 Kinect.

This page is about using Xbox One Kinect for full-body tracking in virtual reality, if you were linked here from elsewhere on the internet, not all of this info will apply, but it’s still important to keep in mind.

Newer is not always better, after a few years of doing support on KinectToVR, K2EX, and now Amethyst, we’ve found that Xbox One Kinect is more trouble than it’s worth, here’s all the reasons.

Tracking quality is same as Xbox 360 Kinect

The Kinect for Windows SDK v2.0 for Xbox One Kinect uses the same body tracking algorithms internally as the SDK v1.8 for Xbox 360 Kinect. It had different training data, but the same limitations were imposed on it for performance reasons. Every pose that the Xbox 360 Kinect cannot do, the Xbox One Kinect cannot either.

Incompatibility with base station devices

Devices that use base stations for tracking like Vive, Index, Tundra or Pimax headsets, trackers and controllers, are incompatible with Xbox One Kinect.

The time of flight sensor on the Xbox One Kinect confuses these devices into thinking an invalid base station is present, and thus blocks them from tracking either completely or in large blind spots.

Foot rotation

Update as of Amethyst 1.1

As of Amethyst a new rotation mode was added specifically to alleviate the foot rotation issues. It’s called “Leg-based Orientation”. You can find it in Settings > Tracker Configuration > Feet Trackers > Orientation Tracking > Leg-based Orientation. The behavior is similar to Xbox 360 Kinect’s default rotation mode, but the feet mostly face forward.

There is an unfixable hardware flaw of the Xbox One Kinect that makes it create a “fog” near the floor because of the way the infrared bounces are modulated on the sensor.

As long as your feet are inside the fog, foot rotation will jitter back and forth continuously. Using the “Software-calculated Rotation” option in Amethyst’s tracker configuration screen will help, but cannot solve the issue entirely.

USB bandwidth and host controller compatiblity

The Xbox One Kinect is a USB 3.0 device, and requires nearly the entire sustained 5Gbps bandwidth that USB 3.0 can provide. Not all USB controllers are made equal and some either have issues with bandwidth-heavy devices, or simply do not work.

You can check what USB host controllers you have by opening Device Manager, then expanding the Universal Serial Bus controllers section. All the devices labelled “Something something Host Controller”.

Here’s a list of USB host controllers that work:

And a list of controllers that don’t work:

The temperature sensor is a ticking time-bomb

Inside the Xbox One Kinect is a temperature sensor to ensure that the Kinect acn shut down in the event that the fan fails, or the ventilation gets obstructed.

This temperature sensor uses analog components, and it tends to go bad on a lot of Xbox One Kinect sensors. Once it does, the Kinect will reboot in a loop until you manually fix the issue by cutting the wires going to it inside the device.

Adapters are expensive and prone to breaking

Unlike with Xbox 360 Kinect, third-party adapters aren’t a sure-fire win every time. Many factors come into play to make a good Xbox One Kinect adapter. The ameperage required is higher than Xbox 360 Kinect, the cables need to do USB 3.0, and the main box needs to have a signal repeater inside to ensure the USB 3.0 signal isn’t degraded as it goes through the entire length of the cable.

Most third-party adapters do not do this, nor were they ever actually tested. Instead you end up with 20 dollar e-waste, 40 dollar adapter gambling, or 70 dollar Microsoft money wasting.

In most countries, an Xbox 360 Kinect and a third-party adapter can be had for less than the bad Xbox One Kinect adapters.

Considering this, there is no reason to get an adapter if you already have an Xbox One Kinect. Just get an Xbox 360 Kinect instead.

The SDK provides no clear errors to the user

Unlike the numerous (admittedly non-descriptive at first glance) errors of the Xbox 360 Kinect’s v1.8 SDK, the v2.0 SDK has two states, it works, or it doesn’t. Leaving you, the user, to figure out why things broke from trial and error.

It costs too much

While it isn’t hard to find an Xbox One Kinect for pretty cheap (nobody wants them), that doesn’t stop the fact that getting a good adapter, and possibly a USB 3.0 PCIe card to actually get the thing working on your computer, gets expensive fast, compared to Xbox 360 Kinect.

In conclusion

If all you wanna do is play Just Dance, or do 3D scanning, go ahead, but expect jank.