Microsoft may not have officially announced the price of its forthcoming motion-control gaming device, Kinect, but the company’s own store thinks they have a pretty good idea how much it’s going to cost: $150. Others think this price may be too high to be final.
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week, Microsoft christened the eagerly anticipated Kinect , which lets users play video games and select movies and music through their Xbox 360 with nothing more complicated than the wave of a hand. It’s scheduled to arrive in stores on Nov. 4th.
Microsoft’s online store has priced the gadget for pre-orders at $149.99. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.) Gamestop also has priced Kinect at $149.99 for pre-orders.
That price could change. According to a Microsoft public relations representative, that price is not official and is simply based on retailer estimates. She expects an official price announcement “soon.”
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Also, according to the Microsoft store's fine print, “The advertised price for pre-order items may increase or decrease prior to the date the product is released to the public.”
Letting a high price float around the Internet may be strategic — Microsoft may want to formally announce a slightly lower price, one that would look like a deal compared to the rumored $150 price tag. Earlier this year, when Microsoft introduced its Kin phones, it withheld pricing information. Websites projected their cost at $150 to $200, up to $100 more than the retail prices that Microsoft finally announced as the phones went on sale.
And some games analysts believe that $150 — if that is the final retail price — really will prove to be too high.
“I just don’t think that it will sell well at $150,” said Michael Pachter, games analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities.
Pachter believes that its the hardcore Xbox 360 players in the household who will be making the decision whether to purchase Kinect for their household. And while Microsoft showed off many Kinect-controlled games for casual players at E3 last week, they didn’t reveal many Kinect games for core players. Pachter believes that’s going to make it difficult to convince core players to spend a whopping $150 on a device just for other people in their house to play.
If Microsoft does end up charging $150 for Kinect, Pachter says, “My bias is they’ll lower the price after a few months.”
But Jesse Divnich, games analyst for EEDAR, disagreed. "$150 seems high, but so were the Guitar Hero and Rock Band bundles at $180 and that certainly did not hinder sales. In fact, $150 is a great price given the new opportunities consumers will have for interacting not just with games, but all forms of media."
Divnich added, "Consumers paid nearly $180 for guitar and drum bundles that are now collecting dust, the Kinect is a peripheral consumers can use every day and its uses will grow as developers unlock the Kinect’s potential."
The Kinect device uses a camera/microphone combination to allow Xbox 360 users to control games and otherwise interact with their Xbox 360 using body movements and voice commands — no handheld controller required.
This fall, Kinect will go head-to-head against Sony’s own motion-control system for the PlayStation 3. Sony’s system is known as PlayStation Move and is scheduled to launch Sept. 19th. The Move system is made up of the PlayStation Eye camera, a wand controller and a navigation controller.
Sony has announced that a single Move wand controller will cost $49.99 while the navigation controller will cost $29.99. Sony also announced that they would sell a bundle that includes a wand controller, a camera and their “Sports Champions” motion game for $99.99. Add the navigation controller on top of that and it looks like a full Move package will cost players about $130.
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