Microsoft's CEO delivered the news in his "final" keynote at CES - A Microsoft chief has delivered a talk at the consumer tech show for 14 years straight, but the two organisations have agreed to "pause" the partnership next year.
The hardware and software for Kinect for Windows will be available 1 February, in 12 countries including Australia. The hardware will cost US$249, with the software provided free to end users, and the SDK at no charge to developers.
The beta of the SDK, used with the Kinect for Xbox, will be killed off in 2016, however the full release version will not work with the console hardware, Microsoft said.
Microsoft has sold 18m Kinect devices to date.
Next month will also see the arrival of the public beta of the next-generation OS and the Windows 8 Store, with Windows chief marketing officer Tani Reller saying free apps developed for the Metro UI will be available globally in all languages supported by Windows.
Little detail was given about the Windows 8 beta, but Ballmer confirmed it would land at the end of next month, noting that three million people had already downloaded the developer preview.
Metro, Metro, Metro
Aside from the release date - and an intriguing interactive TV demo using the Xbox console, in which Sesame Street characters react to movement and voice - Microsoft didn't unveil much that was new, instead summing up announcements from the past year.
Asked what was next for Microsoft by presenter Ryan Seacrest, Ballmer replied: "Windows 8 is what's next."
After the beta arrives next month, it's "then on to the shipment of Windows 8," he said. "What's next: Metro, Metro, Metro and Windows, Windows, Windows," he added, echoing his famous "developers" outburst.
"There's nothing that's more important at Microsoft than Windows," he said, claiming the Metro interface in the next version of the OS will be "everywhere".
"Together, all of us in this industry, in thousands of new ways, even new ways we haven't imagined yet, will use the software, services, and devices to invent incredible things," Ballmer said. "Metro will drive the magic across all of the new devices."
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk