Microsoft will sell Kinect for $150 this fall, making the camera-based motion controller — which promises to turn videogaming into a full-body experience — the most expensive standard-issue peripheral on the market.
Kinect, an Xbox 360 add-on that uses cameras and voice recognition to transform the way players interact with games, will come bundled with Kinect Adventures, the company said Tuesday. This collection of action mini-games is one of the stronger titles Microsoft showed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last month, where the Xbox maker touted the power of the upcoming motion controller. Kinect, formerly known as Project Natal, will be released Nov. 4 and will work with existing Xbox 360 consoles.
Microsoft also said it will introduce a $200 version of its newly redesigned Xbox 360 Aug. 3. This entry-level console is identical to the $300 model except for its matte finish and storage capacity. Instead of a 250-GB hard drive, it comes with 4 GB of onboard flash storage. A Kinect bundle with the 4-GB Xbox, the new motion controller and the Kinect Adventures game will cost $300.
“$150 is an appropriate price for the Kinect,” said Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich in an emailed statement. “Kinect should not be viewed as a typical video game peripheral that is retired from one’s active playlist after 90 days, but rather a consumer enabling device that has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with all forms of media on a daily basis.”
Microsoft’s competition is also putting together bundle packages to attract value-minded consumers this Christmas. Nintendo recently introduced a new bundle for Wii, packaging its MotionPlus add-on and a second game with the hardware for $200. Sony will package its Move motion controller with a PlayStation 3 and a game for $400 when the new peripheral launches Sept. 19.
Introducing a $200 version of the Xbox 360, the price point at which analysts believe most consoles are sold, is important to Microsoft’s appeal to the mass market. Xbox 360 saw high sales in June, thanks in part to the new console design but mostly because Microsoft is clearing older models from retail stores at heavy discounts. The Arcade Xbox 360 model, which the new low-end version will replace, is currently selling for $150.
Microsoft direct of product management Aaron Greenberg says the stock of Arcade models won’t last long. “They’re moving quite quickly,” he said. “We always have that transition overlap time period, but doing it over the summer should leave us pretty clean well in advance of the holiday.”
The only disadvantage to the new Xbox model is that Microsoft won’t be selling standalone hard drives yet. The 4-GB console includes a slot for a hard drive, but none will be on shelves. Greenberg pointed out that users can expand their storage by using USB sticks of up to 32 GB.
Microsoft doesn’t imagine customers will buy the 4-GB unit and then immediately want to add a 250-GB hard drive.
“You’d have to be pretty bad at making decisions” to do that, Greenberg said.
This post has been written by Chris Kohler on July 20, 2010 12:00 pm couresy of blog.wired.com/games.