"Underwhelmed" or "fantastic"? Retailers divided on 130 Kinect

"Pricing is immature" says Chips, but GAME maintains people will "understand the full scope and value"

CHIPS joint MD Don McCabe has claimed consumers are "underwhelmed" by Kinect.

The independent retailer boss told this morning that he thinks "the pricing is immature to a certain degree. Consumers see it as a just a catch-up with the Wii, but they don't see it as much of an improvement.

"When you see a new hardware product or a new peripheral, you normally see quite a response from the public. We're not seeing that, they're completely underwhelmed by it really."

However, Martyn Gibbs, managing director of GAME Group UK, was more optimistic. "Kinect is a fantastic piece of technology and we believe that once people actually try it for themselves, they will understand the full scope and value of what it offers them – both as a gaming experience and an entertainment interface," he said in a statement released to

McCabe, though, seemed to think Microsoft is braced for the motion controller to struggle. "This is more about things that can be integrated into the next hardware. I think it's 'stick it out there, see if it sells, if it doesn't sell we'll still integrate it in the next machine.'

"I think Microsoft are doing quite well at the moment, they're quite profitable, they're quite chilled. If they can get the Xbox Live figures a little bit higher, get more people connected, that's where they're income's going to come from. Hardware is just a means of getting people onto Live and paying through that sort of scenario."

Pointing out that he expected some sales from curious existing Xbox owners, he felt that "It's not all negative, but I think in some ways Microsoft have missed the boat. Over the last two years the casual market has been declining rapidly.

"I don't think it's going to add any new hardware sales. I spotted in their last response to a survey, they said it would lift hardware sales by 5 to 15 percent. I think that's bollocks. You lift it by 1 or 2 per cent and you've had a result."

Where he was more positive about Kinect was in the importance the struggling retail sector could play in exposing people to it. "Shops effectively will become demonstration units, there should be some sort of price discrepancy to reflect that, whether it'll be in some funding or what have you."

Both retailers, however, claimed that Kinect may be useful for the ever-contentious trade-in market. While he was not willing to reveal its own pricing for Kinect, Gibbs did state that GAME and Gamestation would "be offering a great range of trade-in offers to deliver great value options for our customers."

McCabe came to it from the other direction, arguing that "From our point of view, the more Microsoft things that are out there the better because I think it's one of those things that people will buy, play it for a short time then trade it back in. So I think we'll make a good trade-in market on it." has also contacted and ShopTo.Net for comment, who have declined to respond as yet.

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Latest comments (10)

Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
I think most retailers are going to be enthusiastic about Kinect, because it's in their interests for the hardware to do well and they want to recieve some of Microsoft's marketing money.

I do, however, think a lot of traditional gamers will feel underwhelmed by Kinect - the kind of people who play most big Xbox games aren't really the market MS are chasing with the hardware, and any surveys should really be directed at the Wii market, to gauge how they feel about Kinect.
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Joe Bognar PR Specialist, Asus11 years ago
@Terence It's not necessarily about making games for hardcore gamers but to make those people to start gaming who didn't want to spend 180 for a Wii or a DS/DSi...etc

Now imagine that there's a kid who's playing a lot of "hardcore games". His mum would like to play as well but just once in a while but without paying 100s of pounds. There's a nice 50 difference between a Wii and Kinect (I think it's overpriced though) and the games probably will be very cheap mainly becasue they will be available online as well which reduces costs. So even if it might sound to some mothers still too much, even this ridiculously high price would be more appealing for them. Plus I'm sure that the most harcore gamer would at least once try the games as well. At some places it might even happen that mum and child put their money/pocket money together to be able to afford it.

The other section is the hardcore gamers who actually like/love Arcade games. (I still don't understand that why bad looking old games are fun but some people like it and that's it.) Now Kinect won't have games with 8 hours story line but I would say it will have Arcade type of games. This would appeal the Arcade games fans. Plus maybe some dads who played the old arcade machines in pubs or wherever.

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Mark Wittaker blogger 11 years ago
Well, isn't the consumer deciding if the price is right? Microsoft Kinect doing outstanding on pre-orders see here, even the old Xbox is outclassing Wii. Move is somewhere close to #250. Does that not mean that Microsoft priced it just right?
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Paul D11 years ago
@Clemens. I don't think you can read anything into Amazon's 'bestsellers'. One retailer out of how many? And how do we know the chart is real? Also, Kinect was actually number one in Amazon's chart but as soon as the price was officially announced it quickly dropped down a number of places.
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Mark Wittaker blogger 11 years ago
@paul: well, the article also discusses top position in's store. You are absolutely right on the fact taht t is only one reseller that may not be representative for all of us, but it is a big reseller. Also, although the audience may not be fully representative, it shows that Microsoft is doing well in reference to the other products in the same category.

When it was #1 position earlier it was also price $149.99. So, now that it is official, a second wave brings Microsoft back to the top 5.

Food for thought.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
Most big products tend to hit #1 on Amazon's pre-order list once they become available, but it's hardly indicative of a peripheral or hardware's long-term success.

Perhaps its sales will plummet by 80-90% after the first week or two, like recently reported happened with some games such as Operation Flashpoint 2 and Final Fantasy XIII. Relying on its pre-order placement with Amazon is not the basis for a sound argument regarding an expensive piece of hardware's sustained success.

However, I do think Kinect's placement relative to Move means is that Microsoft are already doing a far better job marketing it. I've already got a couple of emails from online retailers solely about Kinect, and it seems to feature pretty heavily on websites from Game to Amazon already. I'm aware of Move because I've seen E3/know Sony's stuff, but I haven't really seen any marketing for it yet.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 22nd July 2010 3:11pm

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Mark Wittaker blogger 11 years ago
@Terence, yes marketing is crucial. On the same website as before (123kinect) there is an article that discusses sony's defensive strategy of the PSMove. In this interview a Dutch Microsoft Executive notes that Sony is not interested in Move, but only in 3D and uses Move as a means to confuse the customer.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
Clemens, I think you're reading a little too much into that site. It's a Kinect website, so anything reported there is going to be utterly biased.
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Josef Brett Animator 11 years ago
@Joe - you make a good point in your first paragraph, but I disagree with your arcade comment! I'm old enough to have enjoyed those "bad looking old games" and can safetly say (even without trying the tech) that Kinect will be no where near accurate or responsive enough to control the majority of arcade games (old or new)! Heck, most standard joypads aren't really cut out for true arcade accuracy!

@ Terence. Good point about the Kinect awareness. I, too, have had emails specifically about Kinect (and not Move) and most of my non-gaming friends and family have a vague idea of what Kinect is (or that it exists at least), whereas most of them don't know about Move.

Move seems to be the more reliable, eastablished, accurate etc tech from what I understand, but Sony don't seem to be pushing it s hard as they could/should. Maybe they are complacent and just believe that thier 'Wii beater' doesn't need the publicity?!

Who knows.
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Armin Seuchter Studying Business Management, University of Surrey11 years ago
It may not have been mentioned in the article, but I deem it odd that the euro price is actually pretty close to the pound price when converted. The difference that the rest of the EU has to pay compared to the UK is usually extortion.
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