A full year after revealing plans to jump into the motion-controller game, Microsoft has finally announced the price for their Kinect hardware, a motion sensor that sits atop the television. The add-on, which works with Xbox 360, will ship to stores in November of this year, cost $150, and come with one game, Kinect Adventures.
Microsoft and a handful of third-party publishers will have 15 games that work with the Kinect available at launch. Gamers can also purchase a bundle which includes the Kinect and the sleeker, new Xbox 360 for $300.
Typically, when a gaming console has been on the market for several years, it reaches saturation and sales dip. Microsoft hopes to spark new interest in the Xbox 360–and new software–with Kinect. It could buoy sagging sales before a completely updated version of the Xbox console arrives. Of course, the release of the skinny version 360 has given console sales a jump, too, though it’s essentially a cosmetic update.
However, the Kinect faces stiff competition. Sony’s motion-sensor product, the Move add-on for the PS3, will hit stores in September. Meanwhile, Nintendo has already scored massive sales with their Wii console and motion-sensitive Nunchuck and Wiimote peripherals.
With the Xbox 360 originally aimed at the hardcore gaming market, Microsoft looks to the Kinect to broaden their reach to casual gamers. But both Sony and Nintendo have the same market in mind with their products. And with a host of developers churning out games for the iPad, mobile devices, and Web, there’s no shortage of screens to play on, perhaps making the console experience less relevant.