E3 2010: Can Kinect Retail for $150?

Coming out of Microsoft’s E3 2010 press conference, there was still one question: How much will Kinect cost? Multiple retailers, including Best Buy, Gamestop, Wal-Mart, and Amazon have the device listed at $150. There is no question the technology involved (and only the technology) seems like it will be worth it. Sony’s Move does have a price, $99 for the base model, but the controllers, for both the Wand and Navigation unit is $90. Four player games will not be cheap (more than the console itself).

With Kinect, it is only a $150 investment since no other devices are needed. So, yes, Microsoft’s Kinect could retail for that rumored price, but will mainstream gamers who don’t put the numbers together catch on? If the entry price of Move is only $99, that is instantly more appealing than $150 regardless of any future needs. The same goes for a general console price. Regardless of the needed accessories, say extra controllers or games, the advertised price is what sticks. A 360 may be $300, but anyone who has been gaming for any amount of time knows of the other costs.

Considering the intended market, no, Kinect cannot cost $150. The casual market bought into the Wii at $250 and were happy, but that included what they needed. Assuming they don’t have a 360 already, the new Xbox 360 model is $300, and Kinect is not included. That is $450, $200 more than a Wii. The key here is to get the system into the home and try and make money via software.

This all assumes Kinect can sell software, and does not join the other console add-ons of old, like the Sega Activator, Nintendo Super Scope 6, and Rob the Robot. History tells us add-ons do not sell, because the market is too fragmented for a developer to take advantage of. At $150, that is what will likely happen, especially since this is a new device they are not familiar with, raising dev costs. Kinect needs to match Move at $99, the only real chance it has to not completely remove the intended market from the equation.