Xbox Australia: Kinect "Leapfrogs" Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Move

Xbox Australia chief David McLean reckons that Kinect is going to appeal to existing Xbox 360 owners and people who have never owned a gaming console. But he's not ready to talk about price.

Before Microsoft announced its Kinect pricing plans for the US market, I had the chance to chat with McLean about his vision for Kinect.

I asked McLean who he thought Kinect was for:

"When we think about who we’re talking to we think we have two customers to satisfy," said McLean. "There’s our existing install base of one million people and for them there’ll be standalone Kinect devices that we’ll put in the market. We’ll also put bundles in the market, including Kinect, to talk to that new audience that may not have partook in videogaming in the past but may want to move in because Kinect is more accessible.

"Then I see a potential blending. Look at a core game like Forza being controlled by Kinect. With that I could play Forza 3 with my mother-in-law who’s never picked up a controller and finds the whole thing intimidating. But if she could come in and start doing this [motions to hold a steering wheel]then she could play a game. So I think there’s a new audience we can start talking to."

I asked whether it was a risk launching a console accessory whose launch lineup of games don't appeal to people who already own the console:

"No, I don’t think it’s a risk because I see there are a number of different audiences," said McLean. "I’m not sure that somebody who plays Halo is going to say 'I don’t see anything in that area that I have an interest in playing.' There may be some people like that, but at the same time there are going to plenty of those people saying 'Wow, this is pretty new and it looks interesting and there are some things I want to play.'

"I think we’re in the beginning of a very, very long journey. In regards to that [existing, core audience]I think the key thing we saw [at E3]was what we saw from LucasArts and what we saw from Forza. They are two areas that typically talk to that core audience that we’ve started to blend the Kinect experience into.

"We’re at the start of this journey, and we’re only going to see more and more of that. We’ve got 40 or 50 titles coming before June next year, so we’ll absolutely see more from the publishers who are developing content for it. The launch lineup? Yeah you’re right, it’s very much targeted to that casual audience. But I don’t think the publishers or Microsoft are going to be satisfied with just stopping there."

I asked McLean whether he thought the launch lineup - full of mini-game collections, casual sports and dancing titles - was too similar to what we've seen on Wii and will see on Move in September:

"I think they’re completely different experiences, and it’s up to us to prove that," said McLean. "That’s the bet we’ve made and we’re pretty convinced it’s the right one.

"We can argue about who’s got the best technology - we would win that argument, actually - but I’d prefer to argue about what the experience is like. The challenge for us is to take ourselves out of the argument and think about the people who have never picked up a videogame before, and ask them 'Right, do you want to pick up your Sony Move with 18 buttons or whatever it is, pick up your Nintendo Wiimote - which was an innovative product a number of years ago, no disrespect, I think they broadened the market for everyone - or do you just want to walk up to the screen?'

"We want to talk to absolutely everybody. Credit where credit is due, Nintendo really broadened the audience. They made videogaming far more accessible and brought a rich new entertainment functionality into the category. We’re just taking it... not even a step... we’ve just leapfrogged all that and taken it to something completely different. Anybody who can walk up to a screen can now have a gaming experience."

Finally, I wondered whether, in terms of pricing, Microsoft would offer Kinect as a "loss leader" or whether it would follow the company's traditional accessory pricing model:

"That’s a good question, I don’t know yet," said McLean. "At the end of the day, Kinect is an accessory, it’s not a console. So would I want to use Kinect as a loss leader? I don’t think so. We’re still thinking about the pricing, and right now we simply have no pricing to announce."

Australian retailers have speculated that Kinect would be priced at approximately $AU200, placing it $50 above what you need to get one player up and running on PlayStation Move (with the two controllers and camera) but lower than what you'd pay to get two players, er... Moving. It's also significantly cheaper than what you'll pay for a new Guitar Hero or Rock Band full instrument bundle later this year, but more than what you'd get last year's models for now.

The US pricing of $US150, which includes the Kinect accessory and Kinect Adventures game, probably translates to around $AU250 if we use the typical software comparison as a guide (Xbox games are $US60 RRP versus roughly $AU100 RRP). The new US console bundle pricing of $US300, which includes a 4GB Arcade console, Kinect accessory and Kinect Adventures game, would translate to $AU500 using the above guide. But that would make it more expensive than the 250GB Xbox 360 Slim console, and it seems unlikely Microsoft would want that.

When asked about local Kinect pricing this morning, an Xbox Australia spokesperson told me that they hoped to be able to announce them in the next few days.

How do you think Kinect stacks up against Wii and Move? And what are you prepared to pay for both Microsoft and Sony's motion control devices?


Comments

    Better be no more than $200 here.

    What im really dissapointed in is the price of games. The rrp is the same as normal games.

    Sure some gamesa might be worth full price but games like kinect sports and kinectimals should be alot cheaper.

      We don't know what price the games will be. They have yet to be priced in Australia. In the US they are $US49.99 instead of the typical $US59.99 for new releases.

      PS Move games are estimated to be $60 here. Check EB Games Aus website. I dont think the Kinect or Move will take off.

    More serious games please. Forza looked ok at E3 this year but Kinectimals.....

    I dunno... The whole, point your hand at the screen to shoot etc thing turns me off. But the Minority report style dashboard controls look super cool.

    And I'm worried that this is just going to become a magnet for shovelware, both in retail disc form and downloadable form.

    I guess the same can be said about Move, but I'm buying that because I've yet to play through Resident Evil 5, and 4 on Wii had some of the best controls on the system.

    If Kinect can show a cool core game, even an existing title updated to work with it, controlled with it well, I'll snap it up in an instant. But for now I really don't want to raft down a river with HD Miis...

    I'm willing to pay $200 if it bundles a game. I want Dance Central and Dance Masters, and buying Kinect seems no more silly than coughing up for, say, Guitar Hero guitars and a drum and mic kit, or a DDR dance mat, or how everybody who owns a Wii ends up buying a bunch of Wiimotes for the off chance a friend comes over, or...

    I’m not prepared to pay for either Kinect or Move. Ever since seeing both of them at this year’s E3 I have lost all interest. I know that the PR people spew this unique “experience” stuff. But to me it all looks exactly the same. Every single Kinect/Move title is totally interchangeable. I’ll give Microsoft credit for having a good concept, but people don’t care if you have a controller in your hand or not. If the end product is the same then how is the experience any different?

    Kinect has the best techology. Way ahead of the Wii and Move. But put in the wrong hands, like Atari's Jaguar console and portable (forget the name), this might not succeed as well if it's from Nintendo. MS has been trying to crack the casual market for awhile now, without much success. Time will tell with Kinect. I know I will be buying one, I have all the consoles, and I'm into the lastest tech.

    Is it still only available for people who want to stand up and play? Because I can't think of a single person who doesn't want to play racing games sitting....

      Right Here man.

      I've got a bad back and sit all day at work... I generally stand when I play games on my xbox.

    'Hardcore' gamers will do their best to ignore it until Wifey, Girlfriend or Mother catches onto it and then force them to get it. It's the same thing that happened with the Wii, it was the core Nintendo fans lining up for it on day one, then it spread to the other side. Microsoft won't have that as 360 gamers have learnt to hate motion controls, Microsoft won't have the same help getting Motion out there, they'll have to do it themselves.

    I'm buying it.

    I'd like to see some hardcore features on it though. Things like headtracking.
    I'd like it to be priced around $200 as well.

    I won't be picking it up until more games come out for it.

    I'm starting to understand how impressive kinect COULD be, but i want to see more tangible proof. So until some really good titles come out i'll be giving it a miss for the time being.

    I do believe it could out do the wii though... but it would have to avoid shovelware almost completely

    ‘Wow, this is pretty new and it looks interesting and there are some things I want to play.’

    It's a shame these CEO like interviews always read like a PR script. Hard to really take anything at face value.

    Not the fault of Kotaku I'm sure but all same it isn't that useful a read.

    its got to show a lot, im boarding on getting it, i probably won't get move since i have a wii. But with kinect at least its something new and while i can't see any hardcore games coming out on it.

    Im dieing to own a tiger, its so f'ing cute!

    only way i can see it work is with controller + body movements. like moving ur head to duck, throw grenades different ways (measure speed/vector) and mirror it on the screen so u can bounce grenade's around corners, roll a grenade under a door.

    you wil never see a full fledge FPS on kinect it just can't work in my opinion. then again why hasn't anyone made an RTS for wii?

      The same was said about getting FPS games to work on a standard controller. Even using a mouse was considered a joke for a while (granted '3D games' still hadn't started using the Z axis and damage was the same no matter where you hit the enemies).

      I'll admit I think Kinect and Move are seriously over-estimating both the general publics interest in motion control gaming and developers willingness to use late addition optional hardware for core components of their games, but that doesn't mean the tech doesn't have the potential to change the way we play games. If the Kinect is a default part of the next generation XBOX then I think we'll see some brilliant changes to the way traditional games are played.

      Mate, for that matter why wasn't Halo Wars 2 announced as a launch title for Kinect?

    I don't see how the interviewer can assume that the launch titles have no appeal. Maybe not for fat and lazy game nerds, but many casual players have 360s already and games like Dance Central and Zumba look pretty good.

    Eyetoy/PsEye and the Dsi have issues with 'non-ideal' lighting conditions- I am yet to be convinced that Kinect will overcome the same.

    Racing games and casual sports stuff I can take or leave with Kinect- Wii (we, geddit?) have had this, albeit in slightly simpler form, for 4 years, but show me emotion-recognition, motion tracking WITHIN environments, and the other Milo stuff from last year... then you have my interest.

    Sorry no sale here,will be buying Move instead.

    As for pricing comparisons it just goes to show how much we are being ripped off by MS in Australia on both hardware and software.

      And my PS3 was $376 in Japan when it was selling in Australia for $699. Microsoft aren't the only people who pump up the price...

    The idea of Driving a car without a wheel puts me off. That things is better on wii or Sony wii (sorry move) the casual audience already has a console (wii) and wii sports without a remote won't mak them buy I I'm afraid. Seriously everyone is nicking nintendos ideas. I'll save my money for a 3DS and other m. Nintendo pwnd the other companies at .e3 this year and the 3DS is gonna be the next big thing.

    I already own a PS3 and the Move does interest me. But, if Kinect does what Microsoft are dreaming it will do and they can make some games which actually appeal to me I might finally get myself an XBOX.

    There is no way I would be playing any driving games with it though. I have a dedicated driving seat and steering wheel and I can't see how Kinect could ever replicate that experience. No Paddle shifting? No Force Feedback? No thanks.

    The Kinect is too expensive and the games are too girly at the moment. I mean seriously look at the Sony Move they were showing FPS's, sports games, fighting games, racing games etc...plus it's cheaper to buy the Move.

    I'm thinking the Kinect will just be a little toy for dancing games or animal nonsense etc, I mean seriously can you imagine playing a driving game by pretending your hands are the steering wheel? That just looks so wrong...

    Killzone 3 + Move. Sorry Microsoft but you don't offer anything with Kinect.

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