With the price for the system finally nailed down, the last major piece of the jigsaw in place, it's reasonable to pose the question - what is Kinect designed to do for Microsoft? It's a question made all the more important by the fact that the company itself doesn't seem to be entirely sure.
The line it most often rolls out is that Kinect will extend the lifespan of the Xbox 360 hardware, envisioning the combination of Kinect and the Xbox 360 S as essentially "Xbox 360.5" while the console's apparatchiks eagerly take up the chant of "five more years". On the other hand, its showing at E3 and various other events and statements suggest that it's all about market expansion, taking the battle for the hearts and minds of downstream gamers right into Nintendo's heartland.
Those are not necessarily conflicting objectives, of course, but it's crucial to understand that they're not actually the same objective either. Refreshing and expanding upon the console's capabilities could satisfy existing customers for a few more years without launching a new platform, without necessarily widening the demographic appeal of the system. Equally, it could widen the appeal to new audiences, but leave existing owners unimpressed and still keen for a platform upgrade within a normal timespan.