November 5, 2010

Xbox Kinect Hits Stores

Microsoft launched the Kinect motion-sensing controller for the Xbox 360 on Thursday with high hopes that the device will be a big hit.

Market tracker firm International Data Corp. (IDC) forecasted US sales of 2.5 to 3 million devices over the holiday season, but Microsoft is raising the bar even higher.

The software giant this week predicted sales of the Kinect system this quarter to reach five million units sold and said it expects it to be the biggest Xbox accessory debut ever.

The Kinect, which is now available at more than 30,000 US stores, uses a 3D camera and motion recognition software that lets people use their natural body movements and voice commands instead of hand-held controllers.

Microsoft is looking to cash in on the success of the Nintendo Wii, which led the way with motion controlled video gaming when it released the ever-popular console in 2006.

"Millions of additional US households will be enjoying motion-based gaming this holiday season," Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's videogame industry advisory service, told AFP.

"Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus controller has an installed base over 10 million units right now but the new interfaces and associated games from Sony and Microsoft are going to give many shoppers pause moving forward," said Ward.

The Kinect, which works the 45 million Xbox 360s already sold, costs 150 US dollars. It comes with the videogame "Kinect Adventures". A 4-gigabyte Xbox 360 console is also available that includes both the Kinect and videogame for 299 US dollars.

There are currently seventeen games available for the Kinect system. They include everything from dance, exercise and sports titles, a Harry Potter title and a videogame tailored specifically for children, called "Kinectimals."

Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, MTV Games/Harmonix, Microsoft Games, and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment are among game development studios that have produced games for use with Kinect.

For the launch, Microsoft filled New York's Times Square with hundreds of dancers and put on a concert by recording artists Ne-Yo and Lady Sovereign.


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