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"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 GamesIndustry.biz 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 GamesIndustry.biz.

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."

GamesIndustry.biz has also contacted Amazon.co.uk and ShopTo.Net for comment, who have declined to respond as yet.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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