On November 4, Microsoft is set to release the Kinect, a next-gen, motion-sensing, controller-free peripheral for the Xbox 360. As we reported earlier this summer, the Kinect will set you back $150 – not exactly pocket change for most gamers.
But today, Microsoft confirmed that it would also release a Kinect bundle – complete with Kinect camera, 250GB Xbox 360 console, and the game Kinect Adventures – for $400. That's only a hundred bucks more than the price of the 250GB Xbox360 console, so assuming you're in the market for both a new console and a Kinect peripheral, you could save some cash by opting for the bundle.
Either way, Microsoft is banking that the Kinect will help buoy sagging Xbox 360 sales by roping in so-called casual gamers who previously gravitated towards the Nintendo Wii.
"All you have to do is play [Kinect], or watch people play it," Takashi Sensui, head of Microsoft's home and entertainment division in Japan, told the Associated Press today. "It's nothing you've seen, and it's a brand new experience that I think a lot of people will be attracted to."
Of course, the Kinect won't have the motion-control stage all to itself.
Later this month, Sony will release a plastic peripheral called the Move, which is designed to do the same thing for the PlayStation 3 that the Kinect does for the Xbox 360. (Unlike the hands-free Kinect, the Move uses a kind of short black wand, with a colored bulb on the end, to control movement.)
And already, Sony has signalled that it's willing to play rough. In a Move ad released way back in March, the actor Jerry Lambert – playing Kevin Butler, a fictional Sony employee – lashed out at Microsoft and Nintendo, the makers of the Wii console.
"[The Move has] what we in the future call buttons, which turn out to be pretty important to those handful of millions of people who enjoy playing shooters and platformers," Butler joked, in a thinly-veiled reference to the Kinect. "I mean, come on. Who wants to pretend their hand is a gun? What is this, third grade?"