The message is loud and clear: retailers say Microsoft’s Kinect needs a mainstream-friendly price if it is to befriend mainstream consumers.
The 360 device was the other major hardware reveal at E3 last week. As MCV revealed last year, the device is due in November. However, Microsoft still refuses to be drawn on price.
This has left retailers to take Kinect pre-orders at speculatively cautious prices of over £100 – but many say that’s still too much to ask if Microsoft wants to attract new consumers.
Retailers large and small are agreed the device must have an RRP under £100 to have a chance of succeeding.
HMV’s games chief Tim Ellis told MCV: “Kinect is likely to find a significant audience with a market-responsive price.”
Microsoft may have to sell the device below cost to satisfy retail’s call – MCV sister magazine Develop earlier this week reported that insiders peg Kinect production at $150 a unit.
As well as retail pressure to keep price attractive, Microsoft faces competition from Sony: its PlayStation Move debuts two months before Kinect, with starter bundles available for £59.99.
“Sub-£100 and Kinect will benefit immensely,” said Morrison’s games buyer Nick Sultanti. “People are going to compare price points between Move and Kinect and it would be fairly detrimental if there is a major price discrepancy in favour of Move.”
ShopTo boss Igor Cipolletta added: “Predictions of Kinect price being over £79.99 will do little to engender early adopters and thus affect unit sales in the short to medium term.”