Sky Glass camera resurrects Xbox Kinect, and it's coming next year

Sky Glass
(Image credit: Sky)

You read that headline right. Sky is working on a TV accessory camera designed to be used for video calling, fitness monitoring, and even Xbox Kinect-style motion controls.

Releasing in early 2022, the accessory was announced in tandem with the new Sky Glass smart TV. It's small enough to be attached to the tip of a TV screen, much like the Portal TV released by Facebook, or any host of TV webcams. 

Images so far appear to show skeletal tracking, so this goes far beyond simple gesture reading into properly learning the motions of the bodies it's watching.

Remember the Xbox Kinect? The gaming console accessory was a much-hyped (and much-flopped) camera able to scan and track the movements of your body, allowing you to effectively use your whole body as a controller when playing compatible Xbox games.

Designed to take on the motion controls so popular with the Nintendo Wii, the Kinect sadly never realised its potential – possibly because it was a lot more physically involving then the more casual motion controllers of Nintendo's console, which largely required a flick of the wrist rather than a jumping jack to have your inputs read.

However, with the popularity of Nintendo's exerting Ring Fit Adventure, and a wider familiarity with motion controls since the advent of the Wii U, Sky may be placed to take a slice of the gaming market.

Do we need a new Xbox Kinect?

Sky Glass

Skeletal camera tracking in action (Image credit: Sky)

A press release from Sky states that "Sky Glass will get even better in 2022, with the launch of a high spec 4K smart camera that works seamlessly with Sky Glass and will unlock a range of exciting new services for the whole family. It will transform how we chat, play games, workout and share entertainment at home."

A lot to unpack here. For one, it's a 4K-capable camera, which means it'll likely be a bit pricier than an HD camera solution – and hopefully more worthwhile.

When we reviewed the Portal TV webcam, a similar product from Facebook, we wrote that "The video quality will also depend on your TV, too, given the 12.5MP camera – which is worse than some other Portal displays – will be upscaled to the size of the television screen. 

"That camera quality is fine if your caller is watching through a smart display or smartphone, but we found watching on a 49-inch screen a less-than-ideal experience."

The 4K spec means this Sky camera will officially have higher resolution than the sensor found on the Nintendo Switch.

We're unsure what "works seamlessly with Sky Glass" suggests – though it could mean that the camera can only be used alongside the Sky Glass, which would limit the usage of this accessory, but could also offer some quality control. 

We expect it would work in tandem with Sky-specific games – likely nothing like an AAA Xbox game, but lighter, casual fare for kids. If it's a popular accessory, though, we could see its library grow with more ambitious titles.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.