TotalRoundTable: Moving to Kinect to the Wii

Debating, contemplating, and enumerating Kinect, Move, and the Wii
Author: Marc N. Kleinhenz
Published: July 24, 2010
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On Tuesday, July 20th, Microsoft finally pulled the curtain back on the pricing structure for Kinect, its much-touted, motion-sensing camera that it hopes will deflect Sony’s Move and even take on Nintendo’s unstoppable Wii. That night, Marc N. Kleinhenz started a nerd-tastic conversation with two of his fellow journalists, debating, contemplating, and enumerating the possible folly of Microsoft, the potentialities of Move, and how Nintendo just may undercut them both this fall.


Marc N. Kleinhenz, features editor:

Kinect is dead. $150 is waaaay too much for the damned thing.

This is yet another example of Microsoft playing second-fiddle to Sony's strategy (which is ironic, given that Sony does the same exact thing. It's an endless feedback loop of self-destructive proportions). The Move may be cheaper at $100, but the PS3/Move bundle is an outrageously expensive $400 – so release the Kinect bundle at $300, constantly point out how you only need one peripheral for multiplayer (as opposed to an inane $500 for Move multi), and pray for success.

This, of course, is the same wonderful logic that delivered the 360 to consumers on launch day at $400, with $50 wireless controllers, to boot.

Y'know, at this point, it's a wonder that the videogame industry hasn't imploded. It's also worth noting at this point that this generation will never end.

*sigh*

Sam Bishop, founder/editor-in-chief:

It will sell like crazy. They're doing the work; they're putting it out there so people will talk about it – something Sony is doing in a far less impactful way. I do think Move will sell, and they're absolutely counting on the hardcore to embrace it. They are two entirely different strategies, and what's awesome is that we'll get to see them both play out in the very near future.

The biggest problem with any Kinect bundle right now is the price, as you mentioned. It still won't stop them from selling a shitton of units – I'm sure of this. The beauty of Sony's approach is that they're appealing to the established user base – with better technology, I will add. Move is a better system for doing games, but Microsoft has endless pockets to push their tech to a new segment. It will work. Kinect will sell, mark my words, because the tech is as whiz-bang huge as the Wii was for those uninformed. Move is for people who play games. Kinect is for those who either don't or who bought the Wii and let it sit there after Wii Sports. I'm telling you, this is big.

But the thing is, it's big on two fronts. Both will sell, I think, on the back of strong marketing and word-of-mouth. Move is Wii done better, but with the support that Nintendo never got. They would if Motion Plus was there from the start to allow devs to make games that really did what everyone in the hardcore sector wanted. Kinect is exactly the market Nintendo went after: the non-gamers. They will both kill it in the holidays, not out of the gate. Wii will still outsell 'em both.

MNK:

This is something I keep thinking about. Nintendo is in the middle of a one-two punch right now: first bundle everything you can to the Wii at no additional cost (getting Motion Plus and Wii Sports Resort, plus a fancy new color, for the same price is a good deal), then drop the price of the system to $150 come September's release of Move. Both Sony and Microsoft have to realize this, so the question is: have they accounted for price drops in their announced price tags? It would make sense; the price of the main PS3 drops to $300 (since, clearly, no one is capable of doing anything more than a $50 cut), while the "lesser" version goes to $250 – making the Move bundle $350. That's still a stiff price tag, and more than double what the Wii will be, but it's certainly better than $400. And this, of course, would make the Kinect bundle $250.

The other possibility is that both MS and Sony fully anticipate Nintendo's price drop but simply don't care, and the hitherto announced prices will remain the same. This is actually what I'm leaning more towards happening, unfortunately, as these two companies in specific have been relying on "added value" propositions in place of actual reductions. While there is clearly a substantial difference between the launch-day 360 and the present configuration of the system – the 20GB hard drive is now 250GB, with the additions of HDMI output and built-in wi-fi – that still doesn't make up for a price that is only $100 cheaper. $100. Across four-and-a-half years. That's inexcusable. (As is increasing the price of the 360, which, apparently, is something Microsoft has learned from – notice that the Kinect bundle is the same price as the main version.)
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