Microsoft’s Surprise $40 Kinect Price Drop: Time to Buy One?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Microsoft

Microsoft Kinect price, come on down — the company just knocked roughly one-third off the retail price of its motion-control sensor for the Xbox 360, permanently. That’s the official word, courtesy Microsoft PR poobah Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb.

The new price: $109.99, a $40 drop from the former $149.99 tag, and Nelson says the price will also drop (permanently) in North America (read: Canada), Latin America and “Asia Pacific regions where Kinect is sold.” Come October 4, you can add Australia and New Zealand to the party, though it sounds like Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Japan are stuck as-is.

(MORE: Microsoft’s Unveils ‘SmartGlass’, Kinect-Enhanced Sequels at E3 2012)

Do you need a Kinect? Well first up, you need an Xbox 360, so if you don’t have one of those, the asking price just shot up a couple hundred bucks. But if you’re already in the club and on the fence about motion-control, the question to ask is this: How patient are you with tech that works as advertised about two-thirds of the time?

In my PC World review, I wrote that “Kinect’s imprecise, casual approach won’t be for everyone” and noted that, for all its cleverness, it was pretty awful at keeping up with fast, natural body input, misreading or ignoring critical gestures.

Sometimes you’ll pull off a move in a game when it’s clear you goofed, or fail when you should have succeeded, and the sensor often overplays a small gesture or underplays an exaggerated one. Perhaps because of these problems, Kinect’s games tend to be forgiving by design, which has its demographic flip side: Gaming with Kinect is pretty much “casual” or bust.

Despite those misgivings, echoed all but universally, Microsoft’s had no trouble moving units. Kinect launched in November 2010 and quickly set a world record for “fastest selling consumer electronics device,” clocking eight million units in just two months. The last we heard, back in January 2012, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was claiming the company had sold a whopping 18 million Kinect units (out of 66 million total Xbox 360s shipped worldwide at the time).

I haven’t heard a word about Kinect sales since, so — tea leaves time — either they’ve fallen off, prompting the drop, or the company’s hoping to move inventory in anticipation of its next console (and, presumably, Kinect part two).

My recommendation: Drop by your local game store, where they have one setup for demo, and give it a whirl first. Not just the games (though yes, don’t miss Kinect Star Wars to see what a Cloud City rave with disco-dancing Han Solo might be like) — be sure to test drive the Xbox LIVE gesture and voice command interface, too.

MORE: ‘Kinect Star Wars’ Horrifies Fans with Cheesy Dance Minigame

10 comments
Black First Name
Black First Name

Shameful... I would be more concerned about IR light damaging and harming kids eyes

making them go blind by using a technology that was pushed to the market

for profit without proper testing and review.

Pure IR light damages the eyes and will damage the eyes of kids eyes

that are growing and eyes developing. Its shameful to think a company

would rather profit from technology and releasing a technology that

should have been scraped from the beginning. The reson others havent

done this is the same reason. Since MSFT would rather settle lawsuits in

the background, companies that distribute this technology should also

be sued for selling it.

I see lawyers all over this in the future. Research has already showed

that its damaging to eyes. Once your vision is gone its gone forever.

Shameful company.

Starshiprarity
Starshiprarity

None of that is true. The IR exposure recieved by kinect users is so difuse and low powered, there is no risk of damage unless you take the device apart and rest the diode against your eye.

You recieve more infrared exposure by having your eyes open while in indirect sunlight.

Allen Heffley
Allen Heffley

Xbox sucks in every way and kinect is directly responsible for no good exclusives on 360 for 3 years running.

Xbox is the only gaming platform pay to play ($300 every 5 years). Xbox is the only streaming platform that you must "pay" for the "right" to "pay" for a sub to Netflix or like service.

All of Xbox's best exclusives are on PC, many of which have free online play the PC way. RROD was the worst hardware failure in history of electronics and should not be forgiven easily.

Xbox has no exclusive content like PS3 games do; even though xbox is pay to play and PS3 is free. Like full free games in Battlefield and Assassins Creed. Exclusive game modes, charactors and more in AAA multi plat titles like Mafia 2, Saints Row 3, Batman AA amp; AC, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Fight Night, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire amp; more.

Also PS+ is an "optional" service that only costs $50/year but yet Sony gives hundreads of dollars of free games. Last month alone they had over $300 of free games on there, big titles too like Just Cause 2, Warhammer, Saints Row 2, Infamous 2, Lora Croft, Little Big Planet 2 and small games you would never have bought but love (like Renegade ops and Farm Frenzy 2).

I hate Xbox for their scams, the hardware failures, the forced upgrades, the expensive hardware with no good reason to support it. No blu ray, no browser, controllers have no good tech yet cost $50 + $20 for a battery pack (no blue tooth, no gyroscope, no built in batteries).

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

 As an owner of both (or all 3 if you want to count PCs), that $50 a year buys a significantly better online experience. However, I do agree with you that the xbox sucks, I just don't use your reasoning.

Ken Horowitz
Ken Horowitz

Eh, I've had Live since it launched and no longer see what's really "better" about it. I have to pay for a subscription to use apps like YouTube and Netflix that the PS3 and Wii (and PC, of course) allow me to use for free, and online gaming on the PS3 has really closed the gap in quality (and it's free). In truth, there is nothing that Live does for $50 that the PS3 doesn't offer for free. Also, while MS has no qualms about charging me the same prices for all Xbox services and merchandise in Puerto Rico, it doesn't allow us to participate in any contests or promotions.

James Terrez
James Terrez

 Then don't get one. Simple as that. Stop whining.

JohnPaulGremlic
JohnPaulGremlic

Feel free to piss out your hard earned money. Xbox is a scam and will do nothing but scam again and again. 

Forced upgrades, lack of real exclusives (most games on PC), RROD 25% hardware failure still just last year (better than 55% when it launched I suppose) and expensive proprietary hardware (lack of wifi add $100 for 5 years, HDD is limited to 320gb but proprietary so expensive $125) and the fact that I personally hate the controller are all reasons why I choose to stick with my PC and eventually got a PS3. 

Dude above has got a lot of good points, told me stuff I didn't even know. 

JohnPaulGremlic
JohnPaulGremlic

Feel free to piss out your hard earned money. Xbox is a scam and will do nothing but scam again and again. 

Forced upgrades, lack of real exclusives (most games on PC), RROD 25% hardware failure still just last year (better than 55% when it launched I suppose) and expensive proprietary hardware (lack of wifi add $100 for 5 years, HDD is limited to 320gb but proprietary so expensive $125) and the fact that I personally hate the controller are all reasons why I choose to stick with my PC and eventually got a PS3. 

Dude above has got a lot of good points, told me stuff I didn't even know. 

JohnPaulGremlic
JohnPaulGremlic

Feel free to piss out your hard earned money. Xbox is a scam and will do nothing but scam again and again. 

Forced upgrades, lack of real exclusives (most games on PC), RROD 25% hardware failure still just last year (better than 55% when it launched I suppose) and expensive proprietary hardware (lack of wifi add $100 for 5 years, HDD is limited to 320gb but proprietary so expensive $125) and the fact that I personally hate the controller are all reasons why I choose to stick with my PC and eventually got a PS3. 

Dude above has got a lot of good points, told me stuff I didn't even know. 

Allen Heffley
Allen Heffley

Laggy misreading command garbage that's directly responsible for no good exclusives on 360 for 3 years running? No thanks. Xbox sucked before they brought that garbage out, RROD was the worst hardware failure in history of electronics, pay to play, "pay" for the "right" to "pay" for Netflix or like service. Forced upgrades on PC gamers by making Halo 2 on Vista only, Forced upgrades on paying console gamers by not supporting or servicing orig. xbox. No wifi for 5 years (add $100), $50 controllers yet no blue tooth, no gyroscope and no recharge battery pack. All best 360 exclusives are on PC, many free online play the PC way. No exclusive content like on PS3 (full free games like on Battlefield and Assassins Creed, exclusive game modes, charactors and more on all best games like Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire, Mafia 2, Saints Row 3, Mortal Kombat, Street fighter, Fight Night amp; old xbox exclusives like Mass effect 2.). Xbox only has pay to play timed exclusive content...content that everyone will have. Also still no price decreases on their console...only down $100 from launch. PS3 has come down $350 since launch and is cheaper than 360 but it has all the best quality tech. Blu ray, browser, free online play, true exclusives, large amount of exclusives and of course free exlcusive content. Also PS+ is $50/year and is an optional service. New free games every month; last month alone had $300 worth of free games on there.