Ballmer just said it live on stage at CES. Yelling it, no less. Short and sweet. Kinect for Windows will be official on February 1st. It's not so much a surprise — the SDK beta hit version 2.0 back in November with Windows 8 support. A pre-order page just went live on Amazon for $249.99 (thanks, Jake Smith!), and here's the gist: it includes the Commercial SDK, it has a "near mode" for use up close — a new firmware where the depth camera can see objects as close as 50cm away "without losing accuracy or precision."
Likely related, but somewhat peculiar, it specifically says on the box "PC Optimized — not for use with Xbox 360." We'll let that one sink in for a moment. No indication if you can just go ahead and use it, anyway, and we're very interested in finding out for ourselves. Of course, the original Kinect works just fine on PCs, including the SDK beta.
The MSDN blog elaborates further: "non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 that were allowed using the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software." In other words, to use the new and official SDK, you have to test it with the new Kinect for Windows hardware. There is a silver lining, though: the beta license has been extended three more years to June 16, 2016 — and those non-commercial deployments will still be compatible with Kinect for Xbox 360.
At any rate, the message is clear: you, too, will be waving your hands wildly and screaming at your Microsoft PC. Yes, yes, just like Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.